South African Airways ‘to cut 1,000 jobs’

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Cash-strapped South African Airways (SAA) is set to make dramatic cuts in order to get its house back in order, news agency Reuters reports.

Chief executive Vuyani Jarana – who has been in the job just six months – told the agency "there cannot be sacred cows" when it comes to South Africa's flag carrier.

"My view is that the starting point to getting out of the hole is to stop digging, you stop doing the things that sink you deeper into trouble," he added.

Mr Jarana would not be drawn on exactly how many jobs would be lost, but sources told Reuters it was somewhere in the region of 1,000 to 1,500.

The airline will also reduce its twice-daily flight to London to just one a day.

SAA – which used to be Africa's biggest airline – has been bailed out by the South African taxpayer to the tune of 30 billion rand ($2.3bn; £1.7bn) over the course of the last six years.

It has struggled to keep up with its cheaper rivals, with its employee-per-plane ratio – 160 – far higher than the just more than 130 employees-per-plane ratio of Africa's current biggest airline, Ethiopian.