SAA to begin training pilots in preparation to resume flights
Johannesburg - Changes that could see the country’s national airline, SAA, back in the skies are under way with the national carrier set to begin a process of retraining its pilots and reviewing its air safety compliance.
Following his appointment as interim chief executive of SAA last week Tuesday, Thomas Kgoloko said plans to kick-start SAA’s journey back to the air are afoot with one of the the first tasks being to begin training for the airline’s pilots as they have not flown for an extended period of time.
In a television interview, Kgoloko said the business rescue process that the airline had undergone for a period of 15 months, had identified the operational and financial challenges that the airliner was seized with.
“From a compliance perspective, we need to make sure that we are at the right level from an aviation point of view,” Kgoloko said.
He also listed marketing the airliner as a significant aspect of SAA’s journey back to the skies. He also added that compliance was fully adhered to at a corporate level.
“They’ve managed to do a lot of clean up, so this gives us an opportunity to have a fresh start and with the work that has been done so far we are able to take the organisation forward,” Kgoloko said.
He said there had been a lot of expenses cut down by the airline, including employee costs, with the company’s workforce now down from 5 000 to 1 000.
He said another task would be to ensure that all the vacancies within SAA were filled.
“We are also going to look at the type of aircraft we are going to use going forward in terms of making sure that they are fuel efficient and also go for a decent marketing campaign to ensure that as we get back on line our loyal customers can start using us again,” Kgoloko said.
He, however, added that this would not be easy as the new era at the national carrier would require new thinking.