Malusi Gigaba the Home Affairs Deputy Minister, brief media on successes in stoping undesirable people coming into South Africa during World Cup. 150610 Picture: Sarah Makoe

Johannesburg - Loss making national carrier SA Airways will return to profitability, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Monday.

“Last year, we said we expected that the airline will continue to make losses over the next three to five years,” Gigaba said at The New Age business briefing in Johannesburg.

“But we will turn the corner as we move to improve and ensure that the turnaround strategy is implemented.”

SAA suffered a loss of R900 million in 2012/13, it was announced on Thursday.

Government made a guarantee to SAA to enable it to operate.

The airline reported a loss of R1.25 billion in 2012.

Total revenue rose to R27.1bn in the year under review from R23.9bn in the previous financial year.

This was due to increases in airfares, passenger revenue and capacity.

Airfares increased by seven percent, which was partially driven by the weakening of the rand.

Gigaba said the figures showed an improvement, with over R1bn in operating costs saved.

Gigaba unveiled a 12-year turnaround strategy for SAA in September last year to consolidate its routes and upgrade its fleet. - Sapa