Nothing signifies the rapid demise of SAA more clearly than the recent acquisition by Comair of its own aircraft maintenance company. Comair has for 70 years been a reliable customer to SAA Technical, the national airline’s aircraft maintenance arm. But SAA and its group companies have been in steady decline since around 1994, when the ANC came to power. That steady decline has turned into a free-fall over the past 10 years.

At its peak, SAA Technical was Africa’s largest and best aircraft maintenance company. Commercial operators from elsewhere were assured of world-class services from SAA Technical’s 3,000-plus engineers and technicians. It also had a steady supply of skilled technicians trained by the SA Air Force. No more...

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