The crew and passengers of South African Airways (SAA) flight SA204 which landed from New York this morning burst with pride on the eve of National Heritage Day as the airline welcomed the country’s First Citizen, President Jacob Zuma, back on board one of its commercial flights from New York.
President Zuma departed for New York on an SAA flight on 16 September to attend the United Nations General Assembly and issued a statement upon his arrival in New York expressing satisfaction about the excellent service and restful journey. The return flight on SA204 was no different.
“SAA is honoured to have had the President fly with us to the United States and back and regards this as one of the highest endorsements our product and service offerings have received from the Number One citizen of the country.
“His presence on board was especially significant to us as the national carrier on the eve of National Heritage Day which is celebrated countrywide tomorrow 24 September,” says Tlali Tlali, SAA Spokesperson.
The senior purser on board the flight Siqalo Ntshikila said: “The President was pleased and impressed with the flight and service. We had an A-crew and I told the President that we especially appreciated the fact that he made us feel so comfortable around him. He was not fussy and a truly humble man.
“His presence on board also did not inconvenience any of the other customers.”
The commander of the flight Captain Neil Parkinson, who has been flying for 29 years for SAA, confirmed that the flight went smoothly. He was ably assisted by First Officer Christo Fick, Captain Johnny Night and Captain Louis van Wyk in the cockpit.
“We look forward to seeing President Zuma on board again to experience our world class service and hospitality,” said Tlali.
SAA operates two flights daily from Johannesburg to two destinations in the United States, namely, Washington DC and New York City, New York.
The President has encouraged others to use the national carrier, as the country marks Tourism Month.