The embattled national carrier South African Airways confirmed on Wednesday that it will be back in the skies serving the Johannesburg-Cape Town route and five other regional African destinations starting September 23, ahead of the Heritage Day long weekend. .
The airline has effectively been on the ground since late March last year, when the country entered a “hard lockdown” from Covid-19 and SAA’s financial woes worsened amid the worst crisis for the aviation industry in its country. history.
With international and local flights initially banned, all major local airlines and most major international airlines were forced to make ground flights.
Since then, most local airlines have restarted layover flights based on lockdown levels, but SAA has remained grounded to finalize its commercial rescue and planned sale of a majority stake in the airline to a consortium. private including Global Airways. and Harith General Partners.
“The wait is over. In just under a month, SAA’s striking and familiar livery will once again be visible in the skies when the airline resumes operations,” SAA said in a statement Wednesday.
SAA noted that tickets will go on sale starting Thursday, August 26, 2021.
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“After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service and we look forward to welcoming our loyal passengers on board and flying the South African flag. We remain a safe carrier and adhere to Covid-19 protocols, ”said SAA Acting Executive Director Thomas Kgokolo.
According to SAA, flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo will operate as an initial phase.
“More destinations will be added to the route network as operations increase in response to market conditions,” he added.
“There is a deep sense of excitement within the SAA Team as we prepare for takeoff, with a common purpose: to rebuild and maintain a profitable airline that once again assumes a leadership role among local, continental and international airlines,” said Kgokolo. .
“The aviation sector is going through a trial period and we are aware of the difficult challenges that await us in the coming weeks. We thank South Africa for the support we have received to get us to where we are today. As we are now ready for takeoff, we see this as an important milestone for SAA and the country, ”he added.
SAA’s chairman of the board, John Lamola, said in the statement that since the national airline came out of the commercial bailout in late April 2021, the Department of Public Companies together with the board and management team “have been in charge to plan the relaunch of a restructured, fit-for-purpose airline that South Africans can once again be proud of. ”
“The airline is rebooting with a formidable business case,” added Lamola, without elaborating on the finances or the planned sale of a majority stake in the airline to the Global Airways / Harith General Partners consortium.