I was thinking of creating a separate thread for this, if you feel like my question shouldn't be in this thread feel free to report for deletion and I'll create one.
My understanding is that the SA government owns a considerable amount of SAA. I've read in the past on here that the airline has been riff with mismanagement in part due to government ownership and intervention Seeing this thread, and the dire financial situation of SAA got me thinking.
There are multiple airlines around the world that are wholly or partially state owned. Air India, Alitalia, Air Tahiti Nui to name a few. All those airlines seem to be having or have had continuous financial trouble. It seems to me, that government ownership, but more so government intervention is a recipe for disaster for large airlines. There seems to almost be a cycle of despair at these airlines. Government ownership=intervention=mismanagement=poor financial results=government bailout=further government ownership, rinse, wash repeat.
If so many state owned airlines misperform relative to their privatized peers why continue to operate them as government owned enterprises? Seems to me that it's in everyone's best interest to ensure a healthy airline. Seems to me the best course of action would be to give them (SAA in the case) the necessary cash infusion (loan) to stay afloat then cut them loose. Or at the very least don't intervene in the day to day operation on the airline.
This will not sit well with the majority of A.netters (where the mantra seems to be Right Wing Is the Right Way ALWAYS
, particularly amongst US-based posters), but there are also plenty of majority Government-owned and fully Government-owned airlines that do either reasonably well (that is, no worse than their private competitors) or, indeed, do very well:
NZ (53% owned by NZ Government)
SQ (56% owned by Tamesek which is the investment arm of the Singapore Government)
GA (61% owned by the Indonesian Government)
TG (51% owned by the Thai Government)
... plus many more.
Then, of course, there are the ME3 - EK, QR, EY - but do let's not go there, as the level of subsidy these airlines may or may not receive is a subject of much debate on this forum and elsewhere.
The point I am trying to make is: Government ownership of an airline is not an immediate recipe for mismanagement and poor financial performance. If the airline is well-managed, that good management is not necessarily a reflection of who owns it; similarly if it is poorly-managed, then the same applies. There are plenty of poorly-managed privately held airlines.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.