Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Johannesburg - South African Airways, the unprofitable state-owned airline trying to renew its fleet, will probably require 50 billion rand to stay afloat, according to the government.

“We are looking at guarantees for funding for SAA,” Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said at a briefing in Johannesburg today.

“They have to meet conditions of the open market.”

The airline hired KPMG to advise on the acquisition of about 25 aircraft to replace older models and reduce operating costs, chief executive Monwabisi Kalawe said yesterday.

SAA, as the airline is known, is battling with an aging long-haul fleet that has fuelled losses.

Then company won’t break even until fiscal year 2016 or 2017, Kalawe said.

“I had a barrage of issues around SAA and we are trying to get the governance issues out of the way,” said Brown, who took the post following national elections in May. - Bloomberg News