South African Airways (SAA) is again looking at opportunities for new partnerships and network expansion. SAA is now re-engaging with Etihad following an unsuccessful initial partnership and is keen to launch new routes after the delivery of its first two A330-300s in 4Q2016.
Any growth, however, is unlikely to be profitable until SAA addresses its longstanding challenges. The airline has still not fully implemented its previous turnaround plan and urgently needs yet another capital injection.
A full and deep restructuring is required but seems impossible in the current political environment. Repeated government meddling has put SAA in an extremely challenging situation. The airline is in dire straits, and its outlook remains bleak.