SA Express has applied for the unemployment fund for financial support from its COVID-19 relief scheme. They say this will facilitate the pay March salaries. The airline was placed under business rescue earlier this year. It says operational challenges and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has affected its ability to generate revenue.
Feroze Kader, chief negotiator and PR pointed out that in the document the names of all the various unions including Sacca are listed even though they hadn’t been consulted. The department said in a statement on Saturday that the business rescue practitioners were still consulting with creditors, unions and the government as the shareholder.
In the open letter, the pilots write that those in the industry know that transformation is almost non-existent in most flying operations. Currently, SAA employs just over 600 pilots and Africans and designated group pilots only make up 27% of the pilot body.
“Of the 27%, only 11 are African and designated group women. Other SA airlines, including Mango which is state-owned, have shown little to no interest in transforming the aviation industry,” the letter reads. It continues that, should SAA and SA Express close down, there would be no hope and no future to make it in the industry for African children.
“Looking at SAA statistics, there is currently little to no desire to promote Africans to participate meaningfully within the industry. We as African and designated group pilots employed by SAA are all first-generation pilots.
“Growing up, there was no-one in our communities to look up to and in whose footsteps we could follow and receive mentorship towards a career in aviation,” it reads. He said it was “imperative” for SAA to retain African and designated group pilots moving forward after the business rescue process.