Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana have been granted a month-long extension to present a turnaround plan for South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo).

In a statement, the two said that on February 26, they had sought creditor approval for permission to further extend the publication of a rescue plan from February 28 to March 31, 2020. A "majority" of creditors are said to have approved the proposal.

"The practitioners and SAA, with the assistance of distressed aviation experts, have since evaluated various restructuring scenarios (which would present the best opportunity to deliver a viable airline), taking into consideration the distressed circumstances of SAA, the funding required and timing available to implement a viable restructuring, and have identified and developed a proposed restructuring option," their statement read.

"The finalised draft plan will be provided by the practitioners to the creditors' committee, the employees' committee and the shareholder [the government] prior to publication of the plan. The practitioners will consult with representatives from these committees and the shareholder, subject to the practitioners' overall responsibility to publish a plan which they regard as representing the best prospects of rescuing the company as contemplated in the Companies Act."

In his 2020/21 Budget announced last week, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni allocated a total of ZAR16.4 billion (USD1.06 billion) to allow SAA to repay guaranteed debt and interest costs. This year alone, ZAR10.3 billion (USD660 million) has been set aside for SAA while ZAR4.3 billion (USD270 million) and ZAR1.8 billion (USD110 million) have been budgeted for 2021 and 2022, respectively. Since 2008/09, the flag carrier has incurred net losses of over ZAR32 billion (USD2.04 billion). As such, the government anticipates that additional funding will be required to cover restructuring costs in line with the business rescue plan, once it is unveiled.

Meanwhile, Pretoria will assess its "appetite for continued ownership" of South African Express (XZ, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) which, Treasury said, has racked up cumulative losses of ZAR1.2 billion (USD76.7 million) over the past ten years. The state-owned regional carrier, which is also in business rescue, was allocated ZAR200 million (USD12.77 million) in the budget to settle short- and longterm obligations as they become due.

However, the Daily Maverick reports that BRPs Phahlani Mkhombo and Daniel Terblanche have asked the carrier's line ministry, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), for funding given the Treasury disbursement has yet to be made. The airline needs liquidity to pay salaries for its 1,000+ staff beyond February 2020.

SA Express has also begun disposing of surplus assets having recently put various CRJ200 parts and spares up for sale alongside four General Electric CF34-3B1 high-bypass turbofan engines and six Pratt & Whitney GTCP36-150(RJ) auxiliary power units.