NEWS & ANALYSIS

SAA needs new CEO with an aviation background – SAAPA

Association deeply troubled at reports that the CEO’s turn-around plan was sabotaged internally

Dysfunctional SAA needs new CEO with an aviation background 

3 June 2019

The South African Airways Pilots Association (SAAPA) notes the resignation of SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana announced over the weekend.

Mr Jarana did his best to turn SAA around under incredibly difficult circumstances. We were supportive of his integrity, commitment and vision to right-size SAA and make it fit for purpose. 

We are deeply troubled at reports that the CEO’s turn-around plan was sabotaged internally and externally. In the end, the CEO was hobbled by inflexible and restrictive government policy as well as the board and shareholder taking active roles in executive decision making. This was exacerbated by the SAA executive structure and an executive management team that had remained mostly unchanged since the Dudu Myeni era.

The CEO’s resignation is a blow to the airline, but it is an opportunity for the shareholder to learn from these mistakes. 

Given the tight margins that airlines operate in, SAA needs a new CEO with an unrivalled understanding of the industry. It is imperative that the SAA Board moves forward with the appointment of a fearless, non political, independent CEO with a strong track record in the aviation sector. 

The last thing we need is a political appointee with no airline experience. When Rome is burning, one needs the best firefighters one can get. 

Besides a proven track record and passion for aviation, the incoming CEO will need the support of the executive team. We cannot have another CEO fatally undermined by a lack lustre management team.

The South African Airways Pilots Association is seeking a meeting with Minister Pravin Gordhan to offer our constructive proposals on the way forward. Everybody at SAA needs to work together to turn the airline around.

Issued by Thabi Ndhlovu, Media Officer, SAAPA, 3 June 2019