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As South African Airways’ liquidation looms and thousands of hard-working South Africans are about to lose their jobs, there is a certain air of nostalgia doing the rounds. But that’s not all. There is disappointment, there is anger, and there is a lot of desperation – yes…but above all else there is sadness for a big loss to the country. For South African Airways, bankruptcy has been on the cards for many years and while effort after effort has been made to save the crumbling business, it can only be with sadness in our hearts that we must admit that this could be the very end of an SA institution.

When it comes to bailouts, SAA has not been shy and perhaps that’s the cause for much negative media scrutiny. In 2019, the airline is said to have received a whopping R57, 000,000,000 in bailouts since 1994. And so, it came as even more of a surprise that SAA received a further R3.5 million cash injection from the Development Bank of Southern African (DBSA) in early 2020. There is an interesting article on the impact of these bailouts available to read here.

But it must be said that it is not all bad, is it? SAA comes with a plethora of good deeds and memories attached too. And it is important not to let these memories and ‘good parts’ get dragged down with the sinking ship (or plane, so to speak). Let us remember the good times…

South African Airways Bankruptcy brings a Wave of Nostalgia

While South African Airways liquidation seems to be an unavoidable next step and unions fight tooth and nail for their people – South Africa looks on. It seems like an impossible situation and there is just nothing that can be done that is not going to cause some sort of upset and life change for many people. That being said, as a South African people, we do not simply see the airline as a failing company jam-packed with shortcomings. In true South African solidarity and support, we see it as a brand that has brought the country together for many years…something to be proud of!  Let us take a look at some of the important moments that SAA has been part of…

  • SAA in the 1995 Rugby World Cup Fly Over:
    With Nelson Mandela sitting in the crowd, the tensions were high as the country was tentatively allowed to participate in a global sport competition again… SAA did something great! As far as fond memories and nostalgia goes, who can possibly forget the SAA Airways plane, piloted by Laurie Kay, that whizzed over the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg – not once, but twice – at the start of the 1995 Rugby World Cup?! As South African and New Zealand came head to head in one of the most historic games in Rugby, the crowd was absolutely electrified by this particular fly-over. Thanks SAA!
  • SAA Launches the Pilot Cadet Programme for Previously Disadvantaged Individuals Wanting to Become Commercial Airline Pilots:
    Over the years of 2013 and 2014, the airline put considerable effort into creating the South African Airways Pilot Cadet Programme, aimed at helping previously disadvantaged individuals to get their pilot’s licenses. This involved full training of 14 months theory and practical and then 3 years as SAA interns. Undoubtedly, this was an exceptional opportunity, not often found around the world. Hundreds of young pilots have SAA to thank for this unique opportunity that undoubtedly boosted their careers and will stand them in good stead, even after the airline closes its doors.
  • SAA Airways’ Historic Fly-Over at Cyril Ramaphosa’s Inauguration:
    On the 25th of May 2019, undoubtedly a turning point for South Africa, when Cyril Ramaphosa was signed in as president, SAA yet again put on a great fly-over display for the crowd. This was undoubtedly a historical moment for the country. After the past number of years with the country being fraught with worries and poor leadership, the airline fly-over marked a change… a momentous occasion and good things to come. The crew involved included Hennie Badenhorst, Monde Gxoyiya, Andre Steenkamp, Vusi Khumalo, Mark Dethian, Julian Whitelaw, and Pierre Gouws. Yet again, thanks SAA!
  • South African Airways Takes Stranded Foreigners Home – COVID-19 Lockdown:
    That is already a lot of good under SAA’s proverbial belt, but that’s still not all. Let us not forget that in April 2020, SAA Airways took on the brave task of flying stranded foreigners’ home to their respective counties when COVID-19 lockdowns began in South Africa. As COVID-19 ravages the world and the rest of us are hiding out in our homes, the dedicated SAA crew members did what they could to help others get to their homes, so that they could be safe and sound too. Putting fears and prejudices aside, the airline did the right thing! SAA Airways is solely responsible for ensuring that over 7,000 stranded Belgians, Brazilians, Germans, and Europeans back home.

FinGlobal: Tax Emigration and Cross Border Financial Specialists

Perhaps you used SAA to get from South Africa to your new country of residence and if you did, there is a certain amount of profoundness at the thought that that may be the very last time you ever got to use the country’s very own airline. Profound indeed, isn’t it? That might not be the only thing on your mind about matters back home. Perhaps you’re worried about the cash left behind in your South African retirement annuity or your overall tax and financial emigration. These are areas of considerable concern for many South African expats. Fortunately, these are areas of expertise for our team at FinGlobal. We offer almost a decade of experience and have helped thousands of SA expats across the globe. If you would like to chat about your financial and tax emigration and how to access the funds in your South African retirement annuity, simply contact us. You can give us a call or send us an email today.