The SAA board is expected to allay fears of customers, markets and stakeholders in the wake of Group CEO Vuyani Jarana's resignation. File picture: ANA/Ayanda Ndamane

JOHANNESBURG  - The board of South African Airways (SAA) and its executive management will on Friday take the nation into their confidence about the state-owned airline's current and future plans in light of Vuyani Jarana's resignation as CEO.

In a terse statement on Thursday, the leadership of the airline said it would like to put certain matters into perspective and assure its customers, the markets and stakeholders about business continuity and commitment to the implementation of the airline strategy.

Jarana tendered his resignation last week as group chief executive, citing the airline's mounting debt due to uncertainty about funding and lack of support from government as a shareholder in implementing the airline's long-term turnaround strategy.

In his leaked resignation letter, Jarana said that a big chunk of the R5 billion bailout SAA received from government for the 2018/19 financial year had been used to pay creditors up to the end of March 2018, to the point that the airline on three occasions was on the brink of not paying salaries. 

"We have not been able to obtain any further funding commitment from government, making it difficult to focus on the execution of the strategy," Jarana said.

"I spend most of my time dealing with liquidity and solvency issues. Lack of commitment to fund SAA, is systematically undermining the implementation of the strategy, making it increasingly difficult to succeed."

The board of SAA accepted Jarana's resignation, saying that he had spearheaded the implementation of the long-term strategy to return the airline to financial and operational sustainability and position it to deliver effectively on its mandate since he joined the airline in November 2017.

But workers under the SA Cabin Crew Association have slammed the airline for making Jarana's life difficult, saying that  he had, through consultation and transparency, managed to get the buy in of cabin crew at SAA into the long term turnaround strategy and his clear plan to revive the carrier’s fortunes.

The workers have even threatened to go on strike to have Jarana reinstated as SAA chief executive.

- African News Agency (ANA)