Johannesburg - Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan on Wednesday testified how Indian airline Jet Airways pushed to have SA Airways (SAA) drop the lucrative Mumbai route so it can take over.
Hogan continued giving evidence before the state capture commission of inquiry, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. She recalled a state visit to India along with former president Jacob Zuma in June 2010.
''While there [in India], I was told by my adviser that SAA intended to terminate its Mumbai route. I was taken aback by that because SAA opened that to service a growing business and tourist route. I was also aware of a lot of SAA international routes were recording losses, Mumbai was the least loss-making route...that route was important for trade, particularly for BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa].... so I was confused, '' Hogan said.
She said she then sent a text message to the then SAA board chairwoman Cheryl Carolus inquiring about the Mumbai route, seeking clarity.
Hogan continued: ''She [Carolus] replied and said no, we won't be cancelling the Mumbai route...it must be Jet Airways still bidding for this.''