South African Airways has noted media reports that the Swissair Group would “divest” its stakes from foreign airlines. The group has a 20% shareholding in SAA.
SAA President and CEO, André Viljoen said: “If Swissair implements its decision, it will affect our relationship because the airline not only provides SAA with a commercially viable code share partnership, but as an equity partner it helped SAA with the following:
Management training and development for our high potential employees.
It had committed to have 12 of their MD11 to be serviced by SAA’s highly regarded Technical maintenance division
SAA has just recently converted its reservation system to Axres, a computerised booking system, which is managed by Atraxis, a Swissair subsidiary.
“It is regrettable such a worthy partner that Swissair has been, took such a decision. It should be borne in mind that the airline industry, world wide, has been faced with major challenges which have been exacerbated by the events in the USA on September 11” said Viljoen.
“The stake that Swissair bought from SAA for $230 million all benefited the South African taxpayer in particular and the South African economy in general, and none was invested into SAA. Swissair has been a very good business partner and we will be sorry to see them go,” Viljoen added.