Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Picture: SOWETAN
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Picture: SOWETAN

State-owned airline South African Express is in a "huge crisis", Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said in Parliament Tuesday.

The going-concern status of the airline is under discussion between the Department of Public Enterprises and the Treasury. The airline has not yet tabled its 2016-17 financial statements in Parliament and is still to hold its 2017 annual general meeting (AGM).

However, Brown said in a briefing to Parliament’s public enterprises committee that the secondment of the department’s deputy director-general, Matsietsi Mokholo, as an acting CEO of the airline had strengthened the company.

The previous CEO, Victor Xaba, who was seconded to South African Express from Denel in August 2017 resigned from the airline in December and has returned to the arms manufacturer.

The government had to work towards an optimal airline industry for the country, which Brown has previously said could involve an amalgamation of South African Airways (SAA), South African Express and Mango.

She said the airline industry worldwide was only viable if it was highly subsidised.