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Spotlight falls on SAA efficiency

Nov 04 2012 17:04
Francois Williams

Cape Town – South African Airways (SAA) has more employees per aircraft than most other airlines, but is not the most inefficient, a Sake24 investigation shows.

The spotlight has again fallen on SAA's inefficiency following its recent request for an additional R5bn in government assistance and the board’s resignation.

The number of workers per aircraft is a simple measure of an airline's efficiency. SAA, with just over 10 000 employees and 61 aircraft, according to its 2011 annual report, therefore has 164.8 employees per aircraft compared to Kenya Airways with 104.7, Ethiopian Airlines with 126, Qantas in Australia with 109, American Airlines with 86.7 and United Airlines with 71.

Comair, which operates British Airways and kulula.com in South Africa, has 74 per aircraft.

These figures are reflected in the airlines' latest available annual reports or websites, or were ascertained from enquiry. Last year SAA's staff costs were R4.417bn.

Yet, in terms of this measure, SAA is not the most inefficient. Air India, with 221 workers per aircraft current holds this position, according to Business Today.

On its website it's clear that its referring to Business Today and not Businesstoday, at http://www.indiatodaygroup.com/, an Indian business news page. Observers say it has a large number of superfluous staff members appointed through political interference.

Air India, like SAA, is a state-controlled airline currently being bolstered by taxpayers' money to prevent its going bankrupt.

Flightglobal airline newspaper Flightglobal says that in April the Indian government approved a R5.8bn eight-year bailout package for Air India, aimed at returning the airline to profitability by 2018.

 - Sake24

For more business news in Afrikaans, go to Sake24.com.

saa  |  airlines


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