SA Airlines returns to the skies

  • Airline had been grounded since March 2020 due to financial constraints and COVID-19
  • Flights to recommence on September 23, 2021.
  • Destinations include Harare and Lusaka

Harare – South Africa’s flag carrier airline, South African Airways (SAA) is set to return to the skies in September after more than a year of being grounded due to mounting financial burdens and the adverse impact of COVID-19.

The airline which had suspended flights at the end of September 2020 received a government bailout package of R10.7 billion (US$750 million) prompting South African aviation regulators to restore its operating licence earlier this month and to resume services.

Towards the end of 2019, SAA had launched a formal business rescue process, however, efforts to restructure the carrier were hindered further by the pandemic’s interruption to worldwide travel which saw the airline grounded in March 2020 until now.

 The airline emerged from bankruptcy in April, and the South African government agreed in June to sell a 51 percent stake in the airline to a group of local investors to complete the revival.

“After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service and we look forward to welcoming onboard our loyal passengers and flying the South African flag. We continue to be a safe carrier and adhering to Covid-19 protocols,” said interim chief executive Thomas Kgokolo.

Initially, the airline says it will be operating flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo as it tries to regain its wings before adding more routes to the flight network “as it ramps up operations in response to market conditions.”

The first flights are set for September 23, 2021, with tickets going on sale today (August 26, 2021) and voyager bookings and Travel Credit Voucher redemption being available from September 6.

“There is a profound feeling of enthusiasm within Team SAA as we prepare for takeoff, with one common purpose – to rebuild and sustain a profitable airline that once again takes a leadership role among local, continental, and international airlines,” Kgolo added.

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