South Africa: Sax Non-Appeal - Take SA Express Off Life Support and Let It Die

opinion

SA Express has been bailed out with around another R300m, but no one is saying under what conditions. The question must be asked: are we as the taxpayers not keeping the airline on life support, despite all reasonable expectations that it will never recover?

Let's be clear upfront about one thing: The death of any airline is a huge loss in jobs and air transport connectivity, but there's a strong case to be made that SA Express (SAX) should be put out of its misery and allowed to die.

Figures presented to Parliament last week show that SA Express is still losing R40-million a month on its routes. Almost all of its routes are loss-making, so it cannot even cover the costs of flying, let alone its bloated overhead expenses. And the thing about SAX is that it doesn't have a case for its existence, as it has a direct competitor in Airlink that operates profitably and, like Comair and Safair, pays taxes to support its dysfunctional competitor.

If Finance Minister Tito Mboweni got his way and took SAX off life support, his decision would go straight to the heart of the ongoing debate on state ownership of airlines. In...

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