A merger of SAA with Mango and SA Express is still on the cards, with Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu saying the cabinet was discussing it. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Cape Town - A merger of SAA with Mango and SA Express is still on the cards, with Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu saying the cabinet was discussing it.

The issue was first raised a few years ago after it emerged that SAA was losing billions of rands and a merger was suggested to make the three airlines financially sustainable.

The national carrier has in the past few years relied on billions in government bailouts.

Mthembu said this week the issue of a merger of the airlines was before the cabinet.

“Cabinet is looking at various options. The cabinet did reflect on suggestions, but at the moment it’s work in progress.

“But very soon the relevant minister will speak to the nation,” said Mthembu.

The finances of SAA have not yet been tabled before Parliament.

The airline said this week it would require more than R2 billion to stay in business.

The airline owes creditors billions of rands.

It is one of the state-owned entities (SOEs) that has been struggling financially with National Treasury forced to come to their rescue.

It is not the first time that SAA has delayed releasing its financial statement having done so in 2014/15 when it had needed cash from the government.

The bailouts are sitting at more than R570bn, with Eskom the biggest risk to the economy.

Other than SAA, SA Express has also been in financial trouble and required bailouts.

Political Bureau