When I served on the SAA board four years ago, we were tasked with reviewing previous attempted turnaround strategies at the company and trying to formulate one that would work. It was a mammoth task, for which we were only allocated three months. The logic of the then minister of public enterprises was that we were not starting from scratch and that the country could not wait another day to be told how the never- ending bleeding at the airline could be stanched. So we got on with it, and with the assistance of leading aviation experts from the Oliver Wyman consulting group, we managed to review the previous strategies developed over the decades by successive CEOs and boards. We learnt what had informed the decision to create Mango. The shift to low-cost carriers necessitated the move, and now all South Africans can, with the benefit of hindsight, see the value of the smaller, more nimble carrier as part of the SAA stable.We also learnt how profitable SAA was in its domestic and res...

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