South African Airways (SAA) is pleased to confirm that the International Air Services Council (IASC) has ratified that SAA retains all its historical route traffic rights, following SAA’s voluntary relinquishing of the number of frequencies on the destinations it is not currently servicing.
In the coming weeks the airline will be announcing the addition of more routes to its growing network.
SAA will be introducing flights to Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi, Windhoek in Namibia, and Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe before the start of the festive season.
Together with increased frequencies to Accra in Ghana, Cape Town, Durban, Harare in Zimbabwe, Lusaka in Zambia, Mauritius and Kinshasa in the DRC, these changes represent the second phase of SAA’s post-Covid restart operations which commenced thirteen months ago.
The airline is on course to re-enter some of its traditional regional markets and enter new routes which remain underserved.
Plans are also underway to launch SAA’s first post re-start intercontinental route during the first quarter of the new year.
Top Copyright Photo: South African Airways Airbus A320-231 ZS-SHF (msn 335) JNB (Christian Volpati). Image: 946190.
South African Airways made this announcement after exiting bakruptcy with a much smaller fleet:
South African Airways (SAA) currently operates 7 Airbus aircraft, consisting of 2x A320s, 3x A319s, 1x A330-300 and 1x A340-300.
The A340 aircraft supports the schedule as an additional aircraft during required fleet maintenance or when capacity demand requires the deployment of a larger aircraft accommodating more passengers.
As the peak holiday season approaches, SAA is bringing into service an additional three (3) A320 aircraft, bringing the total number of A320s to 5 aircraft to support the high-capacity demand.
The first of these was delivered on September 25, 2022 and the rest will be delivered every month from thence.
Despite the delays with the implementation of the capital restructuring transaction involving a Strategic Equity Partner, the airline is on course to deliver a commercially sustainable and world-class air passenger and cargo services in South Africa, regionally and soon globally. There is a clear demarcation of focus between the SAA Management that is driving a plan for competitive airline operations, and the oversight of matters relating to the SEP which are being managed by the Department of Public Enterprises. SAA management is relentlessly implementing the expansion of the airline to match market dynamics in both the domestic and international scene.
According to SAA Executive Chairman, Professor John Lamola “SAA as the national flag carrier and an entity wholly owned by the people of South Africa has a responsibility to secure the sustainability of the airline industry in South Africa as an enabler of economic development and facilitator of affordable air travel to all users of air transportation in the country. The addition of extra seat capacity in the market enables the achievement of an equilibrium between supply and demand in the market that affects the pricing of air tickets”.
Besides this additional capacity of three A320s, SAA has over the last two weeks increased the aircraft size on two of our busiest routes, Cape Town, and Harare. The Harare – Johannesburg route is now serviced by the larger A330 aircraft on three of its seven-day weekly frequencies.
In addition, according to SAA Chief Commercial Officer, Tebogo Tsimane, “SAA is replacing its A340-300 with a similar capacity aircraft and will exit the A319 fleet in 2023.
Tsimane added, “As we increase fleet size to match the needs of the growing network schedule, we are encouraged that our strategy to cautiously re-enter markets abandoned due to the Covid pandemic has served us very well during the past twelve month, and we will continue to follow that cautious risk-adjusted trajectory.”
SAA’s current business plan is to aggressively ramp up operations and to implement a fleet strategy that will continue to gain momentum of growing our regional-continental services and introduce international-long haul services.
Top Copyright Photo: South African Airways Airbus A319-131 ZS-SFK (msn 2418) JNB (Ton Jochems). Image: 952946.
South African Airways (SAA) has taken note of a decision by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to indefinitely ground all Comair flights in South Africa.
As a result, demand for seats across all domestic airlines has been extremely high given that 40% of normal seat capacity has been removed from the market.
SAA has not increased fares because of Comair’s temporary grounding. The airline has deployed bigger aircraft on some Durban and Cape Town flights and will continue to do so until the current situation stabilizes.
South African Airways on September 23 resumed operations after being shut down for a year and reorganized as a leaner carrier.
The flag carrier issued this statement:
Following months of preparation after exiting business rescue, SAA has resumed both domestic and continental service. The carrier’s first scheduled flight flew from OR Tambo International in Johannesburg to Cape Town International on Thursday, September 23, 2021 and is one of three return flights per day between the two cities. Flights are also started to five African capitals – Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka, and Maputo.
SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo says, “This week is a proud and significant one for SAA and its staff as well as all South African citizens. Our journey back to the skies has not been easy and I pay tribute to our dedicated workforce in all areas of the business all of whom have and are putting in long hours ahead of this day. People in every facet of the business want nothing more than for SAA to succeed and for us to build a new airline based on safety and exemplary customer service.”
Kgokolo says while SAA has big ambitions it’s overriding ethos will be one of responsible and prudent fiscal management and a commitment to transparency. “We restart this business with a new vision of pride in the brand and one that has been inculcated into every staff member. Our first order of business is to service our start-up routes efficiently and profitably and then look to expanding the network and growing our fleet, all depending on demand and market conditions.
Top Copyright Photo: South African Airways Airbus A320-232 ZS-SZY (msn 5011) JNB (Christian Volpati). Image: 955216.
The wait is finally over. In just under a month, the striking and familiar livery of SAA will once again be visible in the skies as the airline resumes operations. The carrier has confirmed the first flights will commence on Thursday, September 23, 2021.
SAA will as an initial phase operate flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations will be added to the route network as it ramps up operations in response to market conditions.
According to the chairman of the SAA’s Board, John Lamola, since the national carrier came out of business rescue at the end of April 2021, the Department of Public Enterprises together with the Board and the Management team have been seized with planning for the relaunching of a restructured and fit for purpose airline that South Africans can again be proud of. “The airline is restarting with a formidable business case”, says Lamola.
SAA has taken another significant step closer to resuming operations after being granted a renewed operating license by the regulator, the South African Civil Aviation Authority, under the stewardship of Captain Sakhile Reiling, SAA’s Interim Executive: Operations.
SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo says, “This is an important development as SAA readies itself to take to the skies again in just a few weeks. At our Airways Park headquarters, in hangars and at terminals around the country our staff are hard at work in finishing the final preparatory phases before we make an official announcement about the exact take-off date.
“While I acknowledge there is frustration over a delay in confirming this date, all of us at SAA need to make sure vital components in a very complicated and multi-faceted process are working seamlessly before we start. I’m confident that we will be able to make that announcement soon.”
As SAA accelerates its readiness, Kgokolo has also confirmed that all management and specialist pilots have now been appointed and that the pilots who will form the nucleus of the fleet’s cockpit have been identified and the processes to bring them on board will conclude in the next two weeks.
Note: SAA will return to the skies with a much smaller and limited fleet. It is unclear what aircraft will be operated at this time.
South African Airways is being saved with new private investors. The government has agreed to sell 51% of the stock in the flag carrier.
Under the agreement, SAA will now be majority owned by the Takatso Consortium (meaning “aspire” in SeSotho) with a 51% control of the shares.
The South African government will hold the remaining 49% of the shares.
The Takatso Consortium is composed of Harith General Partners (which owns Lanseria Airport) and Global Aviation, which will together control 51% of the national carrier.
SAA through reorganization, has cut its workforce by almost 80% and cut its liabilities to around N$2.6 billion.
Global Aviation partially owns Lift, the new South African airline which launched operations on December 10, 2020.
Lift is a joint venture between former Kulula.com CEO Gidon Novick, former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache, and aircraft leasing company Global Airways, a South African-based ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) company operating a fleet of Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft.