JOHANNESBURG | The South African Airlines (SAA) is soon taking off to the skies again, after shutting down 16 months ago. The company which is the state-owned flag carrier airline of South Africa was forced to stop operations due to the need for business rescue over a year ago.
According to the SAA board chairperson John Lamola, the coming back of the flights is going to be a major advantage to the consumer as it will allow for more competitive pricing in the markets which will enable more South Africans to fly.
While speaking ahead of SAA’s first flight after the long 16 months of no operation, Lamola said, the absence of SAA has resulted in the hike of flight tickets, due to less local capacity. He stated that the SAA has an objective of providing flight services at more affordable prices than at the present time.
Lamola also mentioned how the return of SAA to the skies will bring back national pride, not only to South Africa but to the whole continent. In the statement, Lamola said,’’ “Economics aside, there is also the pride factor. Seeing SAA’s tail colours on international tarmacs is not only positive for South Africa but the rest of the continent,”.
The airline’s local flights are scheduled to take off on Thursday, with at least three trips per day between Johannesburg to Capetown each way.
Continental flights are also scheduled to commence on the 27th of September 2021. The African countries designated for flights include Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a statement, the SAA board Chairperson also mentioned how the airline is receiving positive responses in South Africa and from the rest of the continent, by consumers interested and looking forward to booking flights with the airline.
“SAA is receiving inquiries from many missions on the continent asking when their cities will be added to our route network. All of this positive affirmation is indicative of how people feel about SAA and our return to service,” Lamola said.
Lamola went on to guarantee that the airline will do its best to make sure it does not fall back to its previous struggles and maintain a good service to its clients.
However, it should be noted that, despite the airline’s determination to commence flights, its strategic equity partner, the Takatso Consortium, is so far not yet involved in the management, funding or relaunch plans.
Takatso Consortium says it is still in discussions with Treasury over its purchase of the 51% stake. It also stated that both parties are committed to an agreement and the process of the purchase are almost complete
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