* SAA given $665 mln bailout in mid-term budget
* Govt says won’t put more money into airline
* $145 mln for lessors, other creditors due later
* Potential investor might have to pick up tab
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Money owed to aircraft lessors and some creditors of South African Airways is not covered by a 10.5 billion rand ($665 million) government bailout, SAA’s administrators said.
South Africa’s government allocated the latest cash injection for SAA in last month’s mid-term budget, but says it will not put further money into the airline.
SAA’s administrators told Reuters on Thursday that 1.7 billion rand owed to lessors and 600 million rand which it owes to creditors from before the airline went into administration nearly a year ago would not be covered.
That could complicate government talks with prospective investors in SAA, which has not made a profit since 2011.
They said the additional debts are “only payable from next year July and will be paid over a three-year period,” so the bailout money only covers “initial commitments”.
The administrators forecast in June that SAA would lose more than 6 billion rand over the next three years. Some analysts expect greater losses given the damaging impact on air travel of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They told lawmakers on Wednesday that 2.8 billion rand of the bailout money was earmarked for employee-related payments, 2.7 billion rand for recapitalising SAA subsidiary Mango Airlines, catering arm Air Chefs and maintenance division SAAT, and 2 billion rand for working capital.
Another 2.2 billion rand would repay those who had bought tickets but not yet flown and 0.8 billion rand would go to creditors who had funded SAA since it went into administration.
A spokesman for the ministry responsible for SAA was not immediately able to comment.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan told lawmakers on Wednesday that the government was not going put more money into SAA and its “ultimate aim is to remove the burden ... from our shoulders”. ($1 = 15.7962 rand) (Reporting by Alexander Winning Editing by Tim Cocks and Alexander Smith)
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