Like Kenya Airways (KQ), the South African Airways (SAA) is another loss-making carrier whose survival hangs on the goodwill of the government. The airline made losses of R75.8 billion in 2017-2018 and the freefall is seemingly far from over even with the entrant of Vuyani Jarana, the new chief executive officer. SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said of the national carrier:
“We are concerned about the survival of the airline…..”
Even with these unmitigated losses, SAA stills pays its pilot more than Ethiopian Airlines, which is the most successful and profitable carrier in Africa. Before this writer breaksdown the salaries and perks of SAA pilots, he will look into the costs associated with obtaining a pilot licence.
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Cost of Licence
South Africa is the preferred destination for individuals who wish to train as pilots. For one to obtain a private pilot licence, he will have to fork atleast R85,000 and have 200 flying hours-at the rate of R2,000 per hour. Then another 1500 hours will be required for an airline license. On top of that, you will be required an additional 500 flying hours on a twin engine airline at a cost of R5,000 per hour.
This is where it gets interesting if not absurd for a loss-making airline. An exposé by Citizen.co.za titled ‘Pampered SAA pilots’ bizarre perks and wages cost R2bn’ brought to the fore the unrealistic perks the 779 pilots enjoy. Here is the breakdown of the cumulative extravagance at SAA:
Pilot travel benefits minimum loss per annum: R63 million
Accommodation and crew rest facilities: R52.9 million per year
Leave and sick leave cost: R57 million
Annual leave cost: R370 million for June 2016 only. If the accumulated leave were reduced to 28 calendar days, the savings would be R207.6 million
Maternity leave for 15 individuals: R7.8 million
Medical examination, January 2016: R457 724
SAA Pilots Number (this is as at 2016)
Number of pilots-779
Senior captains (white males)-217
Female senior captains (all white)-4
Black senior captains-4
Indians and colored-0
White Female Captain-1
Colored and blacks-0
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Senior First Officers Total 288
White Female senior first officers-38
First Officers total-130
Regarding first officers, there are about 130, with 43 white males, 32 black people, 10 coloured people and 22 Indians. There are at least 17 female white first officers, five black people, no coloured people and one Indian.
Salary Of SAA pilots
Lower cadre pilots take home R40,000 per month while the seniormost take up to R200,000. Next
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