South African Airways wants to drive aviation growth in Africa
South African Airways (SAA), the South African National Flag Carrier, wants to focus on growing its African network and improving inter-connectivity on the continent. With more than 80 years of operations and a leading position in Africa, SAA has a crucial role to play in driving aviation traffic growth and economic development.
Nico Bezuidenhout, South African Airways’s Acting Chief Executive, emphasised at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Miami, SAA’s determination to bring its premium service to more and more destinations in Africa.
“Our goal is to increase our revenue in the region by 30% in the next twelve months. Africa is a huge potential market for aviation and as Africa’s legacy airline, we want to see the continent contribute to more than the current 3% of global aviation,” said Bezuidenhout.
SAA is already strengthening its position in West Africa with the launch of a new service between Accra, Ghana and Washington D.C., United States. Starting August 3, 2015, SAA will be providing the only nonstop flight between Ghana and Washington D.C., as well as the only Skytrax 4-Star rated airline service and world-class quality from the entire West Africa region to North America.
True to its promise of improving inter-connectivity on the continent, SAA entered into a bi-lateral codeshare agreement with Africa World Airlines. This airline partnership will offer SAA customers from Washington and Johannesburg seamless connectivity via Accra to other destinations in Ghana such as Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale as well as to Lagos, Nigeria.
SAA’s CEO also highlighted the improved performance of the carrier since its 90-Day Action Plan was completed, with a material year-on-year improvement noticeable in the current financial year, which for SAA commenced in April 2015. The plan included major cost-cutting initiatives and network optimization, which led to significant savings. South African Airways is now ready to boost its capacity and focus on its African routes.
“In the first quarter of 2015, a lot of efforts went into stabilizing our airline and we achieved significant milestones. We now want to grow our capabilities and better connect South Africa to the rest of the continent,” said Bezuidenhout.