If SAA, which before 1991 had a monopoly on domestic routes, acquires aircraft that are more fuel-efficient and gets all its other ducks in a row, it will nevertheless continue to run at a huge loss due to intense competition from other airlines.

SAA provides almost no benefit to the poor, who would benefit far more if the government closed SAA down and used its savings to subsidise travel by bus and train. The airline also provides perilously little benefit to the rest of our citizens, who have other airlines to choose from. It would almost certainly be cheaper to pay employees to sit at home doing nothing than it would to resurrect SAA, which ran at a loss of more than R5bn a year in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In a post-Covid-19 environment SAA’s losses could be significantly higher...

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