Hein Kaiser
3 minute read
1 Sep 2021
8:33 am

Is Global Airways exiting the SAA club?

Hein Kaiser

Takatso consortium has since denied the social media post alleging Global Airways was backing out of a share purchase agreement to buy 51% of SAA.

An SAA aircraft on the runway at the OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Gallo Images/The Times/Alon Skuy

A late-night Facebook post on aviation group Fly Africa has been setting social media and WhatsApp alight since a post stating that Global Airways, the technical partner to Harith and Gidon Novick’s Takatso consortium, has exited the SAA club.

Slugged as breaking news, the post stated that the aircraft leasing company, also the provider to Novick’s fledgling carrier Lift, has left the table, with the author going on to say he was unsure about Takatso’s status in the transaction.

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“If you regard the Fly Africa page on Facebook as a credible source of information I cannot help you,” said Global’s chief executive Jonathan Rosenzweig when The Citizen asked him whether there was any truth in the rumour.

“It is the truth,” said Duncan Gillespie who was the author of the post in question. He says that the information came directly from a member of senior management at Global and stands by his post.

The Department of Public Enterprises said two weeks ago that the due diligence process with Takatso was at an advanced stage and that a draft Share Purchase Agreement was already under review.

“Global Aviation is the technical partner to the Takatso consortium. Harith is the financial partner,” the company clarified in a previous email.

In a late-August update, the chief executive of the Takatso consortium, Gidon Novick, said it could confirm that the due diligence was substantially complete and “that no material issues have been identified.”

The consortium added that “Takatso will now move ahead with concluding a share purchase agreement for 51% of SAA with the DPE. 

“The agreement will be subject to various approvals and pre-conditions which are likely to take some time.”

Last week, SAA also announced it would resume operations next month, and the week before took delivery of previously mothballed Airbus A320 aircraft.

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In his statement, Novick added that though Takatso has had input in the SAA business plan, it was not presently involved in the management or funding or any plans to relaunch the airline. It plans to reconstitute the SAA Board on completion of the transaction.

The Citizen has sent questions to Harith, and will update this narrative during the course of the day as a clearer picture emerges.

Meanwhile SAA announced the extension of Voyager Mile expiration dates to next year. In a statement, interim boss Thomas Kgokolo said that “the validity of all Voyager Miles due to expire 31 March 2022 is being extended to 31 March 2023.

The extension gives every Voyager member more time to use their Voyager Miles as SAA rebuilds its network and reintroduces partners.

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Voyager members can redeem Voyager Miles from Monday 06 September 2021 for travel from 23 September 2021 onward the airline said.

Initially, SAA will fly three times a day to its most popular local destination, Cape Town and from the 27th of September, SAA will operate daily return flights to Harare, Lusaka, and Maputo and three times a week to Accra and Kinshasa.

Novick added: “We are making steady progress to conclude this complex transaction. We are grateful for all the assistance from the Department of Public Enterprises and the SAA management team.”