An SAA Airbus 330 is shown on the tarmac at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture:123RF/LEONARD ZHUKOVSKY
An SAA Airbus 330 is shown on the tarmac at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Picture:123RF/LEONARD ZHUKOVSKY

Cash-strapped SAA, which was tipped into business rescue in December, is selling nine older Airbus aircraft and 15 spare engines to make space for new fleet, it said on Thursday.

In tender documents posted on the Treasury website, the airline is inviting bids five wide-body A340-300s and four A340-600s, as well as 15 spare engines and four auxiliary power units.   

SAA took delivery of four new Airbus planes in 2019, which will be operated on regional and international routes.  

“The decision to sell the aircraft has nothing to do with the business-rescue process. For some time we had planned to replace our four-engine aircraft with the two engine ones,” said acting CEO Zuks Ramasia. 

Business Day reported on Wednesday that the national airline, which has accumulated losses of R28bn over the past 13 years and has been kept afloat by state bailouts, could be forced to suspend flights by Sunday after R2bn in Treasury funding towards its business rescue failed to materialise.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday ahead of his trip to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, finance minister Tito Mboweni said the government was “still trying to find additional funding for SAA”.