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FlySafair is interested in buying the low-cost arm of state-owned South African Airways – if it’s put up for sale by the embattled national carrier.

FlySafair management has approached SAA’s administrators about a possible acquisition of Mango Airlines, Chief Executive Officer Elmar Conradie, 44, said in an interview on Tuesday. However, the business-rescue experts made clear their priority is to complete a turnaround plan of the main carrier due at the end of the month, he said.

“The only one that makes sense is Mango,” the CEO said, when asked if he would be interested in any future SAA asset sales. 

A move for SAA Technical, which provides aircraft maintenance, would be “total overkill” given FlySafair’s fleet is already serviced by its parent company, Safair Operations, he said at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office.

The government put SAA into a local form of bankruptcy protection late last year to end a damaging cycle of state bailouts and ever-mounting losses. The administrators have cut a number of routes, including all domestic flights except Johannesburg-Cape Town, and started talks with labour groups on job cuts that could affect more than 4 700 workers.


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