JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Administrators for state-owned South African Airways (SAA) said on Wednesday the airline is not aiming to resume domestic flights from mid-June, rejecting a statement from the airline a day earlier.

SAA is under a form of bankruptcy protection and suspended all commercial passenger flights in late March, when the government imposed one of Africa’s strictest lockdowns.

“The position around the cessation of flights remains as is until SAA has a better sense of what the level 3 lockdown means in terms of domestic air travel,” SAA’s administrators, Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, said in a statement.

“The airline also needs to consider what the opening of the skies will mean from a commercial and load factor perspective.”

Matuson and Dongwana said they had not vetted Tuesday’s statement from the airline, adding that SAA’s future funding remained a key variable for any resumption of flights.

SAA has not made a profit since 2011 and has mainly relied on bailouts for survival and the government has told the administrators it would not provide further funding.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday that domestic air travel for business purposes would be phased in after June 1, when the country moves to level 3 of a five-level alert system.

Reporting by Alexander Winning; writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; editing by Jason Neely

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