South African Airways: Wings of the Rainbow Nation

Jozef Mols outlines the history of South African Airways and asks if a new restructuring plan will solve its problems.

Today the A340 provides the backbone of South African Airways’ long-haul fleet, with seven -300s and nine -600s (pictured).
South African Airways

The airline can trace its history back 91 years to when Union Airways of South Africa was set up in 1929 by World War One ace Maj Allister Miler financed by the Atlantic Refining Company. The name ‘Union Airways’ referred to the official name of the country at that time: the Union of South Africa. Miller received a government subsidy to carry mail but by September 1929 also started up a passenger service between domestic destinations with a fleet of five DH.60 Gipsy Moths, a single Fokker Super Universal and two DH.80 Puss Moths.

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