Durban - SAA has rejected claims that its flights to Hong Kong could be grounded in two weeks, as reported at the weekend.
The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that Hong Kong’s registrar of companies had issued a letter to the airline, stating that the failure to submit its financials for 2016 by September 6 would be a contravention of several sections of Hong Kong’s Companies Ordinance.
The report said failure to comply could lead to SAA's being struck off Hong Kong’s registry. It also said the “stand-off” between President Jacob Zuma and the National Treasury had fuelled the crisis.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali on Sunday dismissed the report, when approached for comment by The Mercury.
“The airline has not been deregistered and is unlikely to be deregistered. We would like to assure all our customers that as part of our compliance and business continuity processes, we constantly ensure that we meet the compliance requirements in all jurisdictions where we do business.”
The airline did not anticipate any service interruption on routes it served. “Where concerns are raised by the relevant regulatory authorities, we engage with them to ensure that we remain compliant and continue to operate.”
Tlali told The Mercury: “SAA is not oblivious to the impact any possible service interruption could have, not only on the airline but on its customers. To this end, the airline will spare no effort to ensure we are compliant and continue serving our customers in the markets where we operate.”
Presidency spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said the story was “a fabrication”.
“The Presidency and the National Treasury are working well together to assist state-owned enterprises in distress, including SAA.
“All issues will be resolved working together.”
The airline is no stranger to controversy. It has been widely reported that the national carrier has been marred by controversy and financial mismanagement for years, and has been singled out by ratings agencies among other state companies as a risk to the country’s investment grade status.
Reuters reported in July that the carrier was in the middle of a turnaround strategy led by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that would include appointing a new board and chief executive, cutting costs and cancelling loss-making routes.
Last year it said SAA cancelled unprofitable routes to Beijing and Mumbai, despite Zuma's suggesting the addition of new routes instead.