SAA commercial head suspended over ‘substantial losses’
SOUTH African Airways has suspended its chief commercial officer, Sylvain Bosc, after a tip- off of possible wrong doing, the airline said yesterday.
SAA said a forensic investigation by legal firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs into allegations that were received through the Deloittes tip-off hotline “confirmed that there is substance” to one of the accusations.
The allegation suggested: “Sylvain doctored the numbers for Abu Dhabi to favour the opening of this route and sold SAA out.
He knowingly misrepresented the board by overestimating the figures without substantiation and ignored network specialist advice.”
SAA said the forensic investigation “confirmed that Mr Bosc had approved a business case, which he had input into and was approved by him that was presented to the SAA board of directors for approval to open a route between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi”.
This new route would then be used as a gateway for SAA passengers into China and India and would operate at a substantial profit as the current routes to those destinations were causing losses to SAA in excess of R400 million per annum.
SAA has had a code share agreement with Etihad Airlines, which began in the 2013/2014 financial year and is still in operation.
The agreement indicated the passenger fares generated from this route were substantially lower than estimates put forward to the board and the minister by Bosc.
“A former SAA international network planner previously warned Mr Bosc that the exaggerated fare price that Mr Bosc had used in the calculation would not be achieved and that this would cause further losses,” the airline said.
“Mr Bosc elected to ignore that advice, which subsequently was proven to be correct and the selection of the Abu Dhabi Network resulted in substantial continuous losses.”
SAA said the submission to the board by Bosc amounted to an overestimation of the pro- jected revenue figures and ignored network specialist advice who had advised the Abu Dhabi route would run at a substantial loss.
“Based on the non-disclosure of these risks to the board of directors of SAA and subsequently to the minister of finance in the Section 54 application, a business case that was substantially flawed and caused losses to SAA was approved.”– ANA