South Africa Airways to lay off all staff, collapse imminent

South Africa Airways (SAA) is planning to lay off its entire workforce at the end of April after the South African government refused a further funding bailout for the long-suffering airline.

The state-owned carrier has offered severance deals to all 4,700 staff after administrators concluded that a successful turnaround is now unlikely, according to a Bloomberg News report.

SAA was rescued by the government at the end of last year after filing for business protection, but the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is set to be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for airline.

“There are discussions with the unions on alternatives to the current South African Airways business model, success of the business rescue process, and the best possible outcome for the airlines employees,” said the South African Department of Public Enterprises.

Staff have been offered one month of pay for each year of service and that will depend on the successful disposal of assets such as real estate, according to the document seen by Bloomberg.

In March, SAA halted all international flights until the end of May following a government travel ban aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus. The airline last made a profit in 2011 and was already considering job cuts as part of a radical restructuring plan.