June 8, 2020 / 9:01 AM / a month ago

SAA rescue plan delayed again after unions object

FILE PHOTO: A South African Airways (SAA) plane is towed at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, January 18, 2020. REUTERS/Rogan Ward/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Creditors of South African Airways (SAA) on Monday approved another delay in the publication of a rescue plan after the cash-strapped airline’s administrators requested an extension because of an objection by trade unions.

The rescue plan for SAA, which has not made a profit since 2011, was due to be published on Monday. It has been repeatedly pushed back amid fierce wrangling over the airline’s future.

The government and unions have been pressing for SAA to be salvaged in some form, despite its longstanding frailties being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed even previously profitable airlines into financial distress.

A spokeswoman for the administrators, who were appointed in December when SAA entered a local form of bankruptcy protection, said creditors had granted a one-week delay in the publication of the rescue plan to June 15.

The administrators requested the extension after the NUMSA, SACCA and SAAPA unions objected to the plan being published on Monday pending further talks with the government on a draft version of the plan.

A draft plan late last month proposed a restructuring funded by more bailouts. It also suggested cutting the airline’s workforce and aircraft fleet roughly in half.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and David Goodman

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