JOHANNESBURG-- National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it will take on the challenge of making the State-owned airline profitable in three years' time.

Chief Executive Officer Vuyani Jarana, who presented the company's new strategy last week, said the airline is in a much deeper financial crisis than previously thought.

In March, South Africa's Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, reported that SAA had suffered losses to the tune of 5.5 billion Rand (about 421 million US dollars) last year, much higher than the 1.47-billion-Rand loss reported in 2016.

South African Airways has launched a three-year recovery strategy to return the airline to profitability. The turnaround proposition follows the airline's seven straight years of losses and liquidity crisis.

Jarana plans to cut costs by eliminating some destinations within Africa and offering surplus pilots and cabin crew to major foreignl carriers.

Jarana said the the airline needs 21.5 billion Rand to cover debts and working capitalin order to break even by 2021.


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