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High Court Rules That SAA Doesn’t Owe Airlink Funds

The High Court in Johannesburg found that SAA does not owe funds to Airlink beyond SAA’s business rescue process. In its ruling, the High Court upheld two previous judgements on the same matter – by the Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Court in 2020.

Airlink argued that payment owed for flown and un-flown tickets before SAA went into business rescue in 2019 should not be treated as “pre-commencement debts” under the business rescue process, which would make Airlink a concurrent creditor under the BR plan.

In the latest judgement, the court found that Airlink’s claims have no merit, and the application was dismissed with costs. The court found that Airlink was aware as per previous rulings that it was a concurrent creditor and was also aware that it had to submit a claim under the business rescue process.

Airlink has acknowledged the decision of the Johannesburg High Court, regarding the carrier’s application against the State-owned South African Airways. Airlink was seeking to recover about R890-million from SAA.

“Airlink respects the Court’s decision, it is after all the duty of the company’s leadership to explore every available avenue to recover the funds,” said Airlink CEO and MD Rodger Foster. “Meanwhile, we will continue to focus on growing Airlink as an independent, financially robust, commercially vibrant, competitive and sustainable airline.”

SAA Interim CEO, Professor John Lamola said, “We welcome the judgement and hope this finally lays this matter to rest. SAA’s journey through business rescue was both painful and necessary. The airline you see today is a very different one that has had to rebuild itself from the ground up. Today’s judgement is another step in helping us conclusively turn the page on that chapter as we move toward becoming a more sustainable, resilient business, with a new route on the horizon.”

Since 2019 Airlink has grown from strength to strength and now boasts a fleet of more than 60 Embraer jets and operated more than 75 000 flights a year. According to Airports Company South Africa data, the carrier’s on-time performance consistently exceeded 95%. This is significantly larger than the State-owned SAA despite the R890-million windfall.



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