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Africa: SAA Reinstates Perth Flights

South African Airways (SAA) have announced the return of their flights to Perth, Australia. The inaugural flight from Johannesburg to Perth is scheduled for 28 April 2024. Bookings are now open.

Speaking on the announcement, CEO of SAA, Professor John Lamola, says SAA’s operations to Perth are in line with the airline’s strategic plans to scale its operations to a profitable level by leveraging SAA’s unique capabilities as a national carrier with wide-body aircraft that can provide South Africa with long-haul intercontinental air connectivity.

The Perth route marks the second interoceanic route to be reopened within 6 months of the successful launch of the Sao Paulo, Brazil route on 31 October 2023. A Southern hemisphere travel package that goes from Perth to Sau Paulo through Johannesburg, and the way back, is now possible.

As a member of the global network of Star Alliance, SAA is pleased that it can further enhance the seamless travel into and out of Australia for customers of the 25 airlines that are co-members of the alliance.

“Besides the global interconnectivity potential of this route, Perth has long been a favoured destination for South African and Australian travellers, with approximately 80% of our target market being visiting family and friends,” adds Lamola. “The recommencement of the route provides an easier and direct passage for both leisure and business travellers, promoting trade and cultural exchange between South Africa and Australia”.

Flights (SA 280) depart OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, 3 times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 20h55 and arrive at Perth International Airport, the following day at 12h20.  Flights from Perth (SA 281) are scheduled 3 times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and depart at 14h40, arriving the same day at 19h35 in Johannesburg.

For the launch phase of the route, SAA will operate an Airbus A340 – 300, with a total seat capacity of 253 (38 business class seats and 215 economy seats). A marvel in the global skies, the A340 – 300 is synonymous with being spacious, comfortable, reliable, and capable of handling long-distance flights with ease.

The launch of the Perth route provides another opportunity for SAA Voyager frequent flyers to earn and redeem their air miles. One SAA Voyager mile is awarded to members for every R1.60 they spend on their purchase of an air ticket. As SAA is a member of the Star Alliance, Voyager members in are eligible for the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card that is administered from Australia. This affords members additional opportunities to earn Voyager miles and attain Elite credit card status based on their spending.

“We are committed to growing SAA into a revered leader in the global aviation sector. Perth is but one indicator of this ambition and gives us confidence that our vision of expanding our footprint to over 20 destinations this year will be realised,” concludes Lamola.

Our view

This is a great move by the South African carrier and will no doubt quickly manifest into profitability as their is no other point to point connectivity or competition. It is also very encouraging to see SAA rising again after a number of years of stagnation following the massive downsizing and upheaval.

We also reiterate our macro view that there are still only a handful of credible African carriers that can compete globally; these include SAA, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Royal Air Maroc, Rwandair and Egypt Air. These carriers would do well to establish further hubs across Africa (outside of their home countries) as the rest of the continent is still woefully being underserved. The opportunity still remains.


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