South African Airways announces its return to the skies

It will be the first time the carrier has flown regular passenger services since September 2020  

After nearly a year since the airline was grounded, due to ongoing financial difficulties as a result of historic losses and the COVID-19 pandemic, South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it will recommence operations on September 23 with initial flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. 

South African Airways
Photo Wiki Commons/Julian Herzog 

The airline says it will introduce more destinations as it ramps up operations in response to market conditions while tickets will go on sale from August 26.  

The routes will be flown by a fleet of Airbus A319, A320 and A330-300 aircraft.   

Thomas Kgokolo, interim CEO, said: “There is a profound feeling of enthusiasm within Team SAA as we prepare for take-off, with one common purpose - to rebuild and sustain a profitable airline that once again takes a leadership role among local, continental, and international airlines. The aviation sector is currently going through a testing period, and we are aware of the tough challenges that lie ahead in the coming weeks. We thank South Africa for the support we have received in getting us to where we are today. As we are now poised for take-off, we see this as a major milestone for SAA and the country.” 

The carrier was placed into administration in December 2019 with the business rescue being completed in April 2021, three months later the South African Government sold a majority stake in the airline to a consortium of Johannesburg-based Global Airlines and private-equity firm Harith General Partners to form Takatso who will invest as much as 3.5bn rand ($258m) over the next three years for its 51% shareholding.   

Kgokolo, added: “After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service and we look forward to welcoming on board our loyal passengers and flying the South African flag. We continue to be a safe carrier and adhering to COVID-19 protocols.”