South African Airways (SAA) continued its track record of losses in the 2017-18 financial year, notching up a worse than expected net loss of R5.7bn. The Treasury released SAA’s fourth-quarter and annual results after a fierce debate in Parliament’s finance committee over whether they should be discussed behind closed doors or in public. Eventually, the committee meeting — at which SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana and executives and board members were due to brief MPs — was cancelled by acting committee chairwoman Thandi Tobias, despite strong opposition from the DA. The Treasury release showed that SAA’s net loss of R5.7bn for 2017-18 was significantly (R2.9bn) worse than budgeted as sales plunged on domestic routes 21%, international routes 11% and regional routes 6%. The loss was attributed to lower passenger numbers; a lower average fare due to increased competition and negative sentiment; higher operating costs driven by an increase in fuel costs; and higher maintenance costs. Earlier on ...

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