HILARY JOFFE: National carriers that aren't, and other global airline models

02 February 2020 - 00:09 By

Three stories about airlines should give pause for thought about South African Airways (SAA). The first is about Air India, a perpetually loss-making state-owned airline, which India's government is now trying to sell in its entirety. The airline is burdened by huge debt and has consumed billions of dollars in bailouts. India's Modi government tried, unsuccessfully, to flog a controlling stake in Air India but now seeks to sell 100% - as long as the buyer takes on $3.2bn (R47.4bn) of debt and is Indian-owned. Predictably, there aren't many takers .

The second story is about Davos, sort of. Many South African and other participants in last week's World Economic Forum flew into Zurich on Swiss International Airlines. But many will have known they were really flying Lufthansa - which bought what was then Swissair in 2008 after the Swiss national carrier went bankrupt and its third attempt at restructuring failed...

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