South African Airways (SAA) 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, SAA’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% over 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 DC, USA. Starting 3 August 2015, SAA will be providing the only non-stop flight between Ghana and Washington DC, 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 optimisation, which led to significant savings. SAA is now ready to boost its capacity and focus on its African routes.
“In the first quarter of 2015, a lot of effort went into stabilising our airline and we achieved significant milestones. We now want to grow our capabilities and better connect SA to the rest of the continent,” said Bezuidenhout.