SAA Relaunches With Flights Between Johannesburg and Cape Town

Following months of preparation after exiting business rescue, South African Airways (SAA) resumed both domestic and regional Africa service on September 23. The carrier’s first scheduled flight was an early morning take-off from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to Cape Town International Airport and is one of three return flights per day between the two cities. Flights are also set to start to five African capitals—Accra, GhanaKinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Harare, Zimbabwe; Lusaka, Zambia; and Maputo, Mozambique

In a press release, SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said, “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.” 

Stating that SAA’s return will mean more competitive prices, board chair John Lamola said in a press note, “SAA’s return will provide more market equilibrium in terms of ticket pricing. Since the carrier went into and then out of business rescue there has been less local capacity and that means tickets have become more expensive. Our return to the skies will mean more competitive pricing and will enable more South Africans to fly.” 

Lamola added that SAA’s return to the skies is also a major economic enabler, particularly with its strong focus on cargo flights. 

Last year, the state-owned airline had failed to receive additional financial aid from its government, which resulted in the airline offering a severance deal to all its 4,700 staff.

According to that report, SAA had filed for business rescue, a process that is very similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy laws in the United States, in early December 2019. Since then it secured additional funding by commercial banks and other lenders to use during the restructuring process. In February 2020, SAA had announced a number of changes to its network as part of its restructuring plan. In March, the airline halted all international flights due to the pandemic-related ban on travel.

The report said the airline last made a profit in 2011 and has long relied on bailouts and state-guaranteed debt agreements. 

Related Stories

Emirates to Ramp Up U.S. Flights Starting in October

Brussels Airlines Adds New Destinations For Winter

Turkish Airlines Announces New Route To Dallas Fort Worth

Alitalia Is Ceasing Operations October 14