During a meeting on Thursday, June 25, South African Airways' creditors voted in favour of postponing a vote on whether or not to accept a restructuring plan put forward by Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana.

The two said in a statement that 69% of the bankrupt carrier's creditors voted to reconvene on Wednesday, July 15.

"The BRPs could use this period to amend the plan to address the plan's deficiencies, continue negotiations with stakeholders to satisfy their conditions including consulting labour unions and creditors," they said.

As previously reported, Airlink (South Africa) (4Z, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) had sought to scuttle the meeting on the basis that creditors did not have the requisite information needed to make a fully-informed decision.

"We had sought to interdict the meeting and to have the SAA business rescue process stopped on the basis that the proposed rescue plan is implausible, treats creditors unequally, is opaque in explaining how it will be funded and that it is not the product of a truly independent business rescue process," Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, said in a statement.

"Although Government has recently restated its commitment to SAA, we were left with no alternative but to take legal action, having been frustrated by the business rescue practitioners and their resistance to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act. Given these factors, we fail to understand how creditors can be expected to make an informed decision when asked to vote on the plan at tomorrow's meeting. We cannot reconcile that the process to date is what is anticipated in the Companies Act."

For its part, SAA's sole shareholder, the South African Government, has come out in support of the BRPs' plan, especially that it involves strategic investors willing to recapitalise the airline.

"Cabinet maintains that a positive vote from creditors to finalize the business rescue process is still the most viable and expeditious option, for the national carrier to restructure its affairs which include its business, its debt and other liabilities," a statement issued on Friday, June 26, said.

"It supports the proposal for a new airline and the concerted effort to mobilise funding from various sources, including from potential equity partners for the uptake of the new airline. This is the only realistic pathway from which a new viable, sustainable, competitive airline that can provide an integrated domestic, regional and international services [can be formed]."

Under the BRPs current version of the plan, the government must come up with a total of ZAR10.3 billion rand (USD597.8 million) in funding by July 15 of which ZAR2.8 billion (USD162.5 million) would be used for SAA's working capital, ZAR2.2 billion (USD127.7 million) go to layoffs, ZAR3 billion (USD174.1 million) go towards reimbursements for unflown tickets, ZAR600 million (USD34.8 million) would go towards general concurrent creditors, and ZAR1.7 billion (USD98.7 million) to lessors.