File image: SA Express. IOL.
JOHANNESBURG - SA Express employees would get their June salaries, the Department of Public Enterprises said last night.

“SA Express employees were informed (on Wednesday) that they don’t need to worry about their salaries not being paid for June 2018,” the Department said in a statement.

An intervention team from the Department had been working with SA Express to address its liquidity and operational problems prior to the airline’s operating licenses being withdrawn by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa).

“The Minister has been engaging various financial institutions for finance arrangements to alleviate SA Express immediate liquidity constraints,” the Department said.

The state-owned carrier faces a bleak future amid liquidity and operational problems.

Sacaa) last month suspended the carrier’s operating permits, citing serious safety concerns. At the time, Sacca said SA Express’s safety management system was deficient.

Fedusa, whose members include the airline’s pilots, this week said the carrier was scrambling to pay this month’s salaries and called for Gordhan to provide emergency funding for this.

SA Express yesterday said since the temporary suspension of its air operators certificate (AOC) and the certification for an approved maintenance organisation (AMO), it had been unable to fly passengers and therefore could not generate revenue.

“The airline can confirm continuous engagements between labour and employees, where management sensitised the concerned parties to the challenges facing the airline as well as the potential risks pertaining to the payment of salaries for the month of June,” SA Express said in a statement.

“Both labour and employees were reassured that SA Express’s management and its board of directors are tirelessly exploring various alternatives to ensure the payment of staff salaries on June 25,” it added.

Gordhan said the suspension of SA Express’s permits was a “classic example” of the impact of corruption of the country’s national assets. “The grounding of the airline comes as a result of consistent deterioration of the airline’s performance over the years that compromised the safety operation of the airline.

“This impact is informed by actions of the previous executive management that resulted in looting of resources without being held accountable during their tenure in the airline,” Gordhan said at the time.

Last month, he announced government’s intention to merge SA Airways, SA Express and Mango.

“Bringing the airlines together and rationalising their routes are important. Rationalising the kind of aircraft needed at a particular time and day - that’s the experience we’re beginning to learn from airlines around the world,” he said.