South African Airways Contemplating the Possibility of Recruiting Personnel from Abroad

South African Airways

South African Airways has expressed its intention to recruit individuals with specialized skill sets from other nations as part of its efforts to rebuild the airline. This move comes as the airline endeavors to expand its operations following a prolonged business rescue process, during which it was grounded for almost two years.

Skill Shortage

During a recent interview with aviation journalist Kurt Hoffman, SAA’s CEO John Lamola highlighted the challenge South African Airways faces in retaining essential staff members possessing specific skills. This hurdle impedes the airline’s efforts to expand its operations as it lacks key personnel with specialized skill sets.

South African Airways Challenge

Sam Chui, an aviation expert, points out that one of SAA’s challenges lies in human capital. Acquiring the appropriate cockpit crews, engineers, and pilots is proving to be a daunting task for the restructured airline. Lamola expressed that SAA faces a disadvantage as many former employees possessing these critical skills have been lured to work abroad due to better wages.

Recruitment of International Talent

Additionally, he indicated that the scarcity of certain skill sets will compel South African Airways to explore recruiting personnel from overseas. Given the deficit of individuals with the requisite expertise within South Africa, SAA will contemplate hiring qualified candidates from other nations.

“Lamola explained that with the thriving market in the Middle East, they are attracting a significant portion of the talent pool. These competitors are robust and expanding, enticing our personnel with attractive packages. We are facing challenges retaining our workforce in South Africa. However, we also aim to diversify our SAA team by recruiting individuals from other countries,” as stated by Sam Chui.

SAA’s Wet Lease Agreements

Currently, South African Airways is utilizing aircraft leased from Turkish lessor SunExpress for some of its flights. The airline presently has two aircraft leased from SunExpress, which will soon be returning to Europe for the busy European summer season. However, SAA plans to increase its leased aircraft fleet from SunExpress in the coming year. It intends to double the number of aircraft leased, acquiring at least four Boeing 737-800s on a wet lease basis. In a wet lease arrangement, the aircraft comes with cockpit crew provided by the lessor airline.

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