January 24, 2020 / 11:57 AM / 23 days ago

South African Airways has enough cash to pay January wages

FILE PHOTO: A South African Airways aircraft is seen at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa January 12, 2020. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Airways (SAA) has saved enough cash to pay January salaries, specialists appointed to try to turn around the struggling airline said on Friday.

State-owned SAA is fighting for its survival after it entered a form of bankruptcy protection last month and canceled some flights this week because of cash shortages.

“The business rescue practitioners and management have taken various actions to ensure that cash is conserved. As a result we have sufficient funds to pay January salaries,” business rescue specialists Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana said in a statement.

Matuson and Dongwana were promised 4 billion rand ($279 million) of funding from lenders and the government to sustain rescue efforts for SAA but only received the 2 billion rand from lenders.

Government officials are holding urgent meetings, trying to find a way to raise the promised funding for SAA quickly without exacerbating the country’s budget deficit.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Jan Harvey and Louise Heavens

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