Struggling national airline South African Airways (SAA) says it has paid the outstanding salaries to its employees. Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

Johannesburg - Struggling national airline South African Airways (SAA) says it has paid the outstanding salaries to its employees. 

The SAA board met with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on Friday in a bid to find a solution to the financial crisis faced by the national airline. 

The company has faced a tough couple of weeks which saw its workers go on strike with the board being forced to approve salary increases during negotiations with unions. 

Another issue for the entity was its dire financial strain with its board announcing that it needed a bailout. 

It also announced a week ago to its staff that it would not pay out full salaries for November. Staff only received half of their November salaries while the other half was paid from Friday according to SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali. 

"We confirm that SAA has released the payment for the outstanding balance of employee salaries today. This means, all employees, depending on the financial services provider (banks), will start getting 50% of their salaries for the month of November from today. Some employees are in receipt of the outstanding amounts already. SAA sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused by this delay," Tlali said. 

SAA is said to be in need of over R1 billion to keep running its operations. The company's dire financial situation has also scared off travel agencies with some announcing that they would no longer be booking SAA tickets as insurance providers were unwilling to cover SAA.

Flight Centre South Africa announced on Friday that it would stop selling SAA tickets as it cited concerns over SAA's financial stability. 

"Over the last month, there have been several publications in the media regarding ongoing concerns in respect of the financial stability of South African Airways. On 27 November 2019, we were informed that our preferred Travel Insurance Provider and their underwriters are no longer willing to cover SAA under their Travel Supplier Insolvency benefit, due to doubts concerning the long-term viability of the airline," said the agency in a statement. 

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