The maiden FlySafair flight to East London is welcomed with a traditional water canon salute at the East London Airport in October last year.   Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
The maiden FlySafair flight to East London parks after being welcomed with a traditional water canon salute at the East London Airport in October last year. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

FLYSAFAIR said on Thursday it was interested in buying rival low-cost airline Mango from the government after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in his budget speech that the state should not hold stakes in four carriers.

FlySafair also said it was not interested in being an equity partner in South African Airways, Mango’s parent state-owned company.

"We would, however, buy Mango; although obviously it would need to be at the right price," the company’s chief executive Elmar Conradie said in a statement.

Mr Gordhan said in his budget speech on Wednesday that there was no provision for further state guarantees for South African Airways (SAA). He also said he and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown had agreed to explore a merger between SAA and SA Express, and that a potential minority equity partner would be sought.

FlySafair launched in October 2014, after restructuring to address objections from other low-cost airlines that it had not met local ownership rules.

Reuters, with staff writer