Eighteen months ago, SAA pilots were flying high. They were tightly organised, highly skilled and in-demand globally. They were also well remunerated. Today, the situation has changed.
First appeared in Daily Maverick 168
SAA pilots are still tightly organised and highly skilled, but they, along with their global peers, are not in demand thanks to Covid-19. As it turns out, bar a few who flew the repatriation and cargo flights, SAA pilots have not been remunerated since April, along with most employees of the beleaguered airline. Employees who took voluntary severance packages earlier in the year have not been paid out.
Since then, the aviation industry has tentatively opened up, including in South Africa, where Safair, Airlink and CemAir have been making hay. But other competitors are joining in, including Comair and the new entrant, Lift. International flights are also landing in SA, including from Emirates, British Airways and Singapore Airlines. SAA, our national airline, is still in business rescue and, despite the government having made the R10.5-billion available to bring SAA-lite back into the sky, there appears to be no urgency to do so. Instead, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) is locked in an intractable dispute with the...