Leonard Ncube–Victoria Falls Reporter
SOUTH African Airways (SAA) has announced plans to resume flights into the region, including Zimbabwe, starting next month.
According to the carrier, the first flights will commence on Thursday 23 of September 2021.
SAA had suspended flights in response to the adverse effects of Covid-19, which led to international travel restrictions. Several other airlines had also halted operations including to Zimbabwe.
In a statement SAA interim chief executive, Mr Thomas Kgokolo, said tickets were expected to go on sale starting Thursday, 26 August 2021 with the first flights taking off a month later.
“The wait is finally over. In just under a month, the striking and familiar livery of SAA will once again be visible in the skies as the airline resumes operations,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Kgokolo said as an initial phase, the airline will operate flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations will be added to the route network in response to market conditions.
“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.”
He said the airline was aware of challenges currently bedevilling the aviation sector and what lies ahead of the airline’s operations in the coming weeks ensuing resumption of flights.
“We thank South Africa for the support we have received in getting us to where we are today. As we are now poised for takeoff, we see this as a major milestone for SAA and the country,” he said.
SAA board chair Mr John Lamola said since the carrier came out of business rescue at the end of April 2021, it had been seized with planning for the relaunching of a restructured and fit for purpose airline that South Africans can again be proud of. He said the airline was restarting with a formidable business case.