South African Airways (SAA), the national carrier of South Africa is staging a return to Nigeria after over a year of suspension of the route due to some operational challenges.
The airline stated that it would recommence the Lagos (Nigeria)-Johannesburg (South Africa) route on December 12, 2021, with a 75 per cent anticipated load factor.
Thomas Kgokolo, the Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SAA, said that Nigeria remained one of the airline’s biggest travel markets in Africa and it was delighted to return to the route.
Kgokolo explained that SAA would operate three weekly flights to Nigeria with plans to increase the frequencies daily in the future.
The return of the airline would further enhance competition on the route as Air Peace, the Nigerian airline, is already a dominant factor on the Lagos-Johannesburg route.
This would further give the air travellers choices on the route.
SAA had last September 30, 2020, suspended operations due to a paucity of funds to sustain its operations.
The airline, which flies to major destinations across the world, entered local bankruptcy protection in December 2019 after a decade of financial losses.
SAA’s troubles worsened in March 2020 when the government imposed restrictions on international travel forcing it to suspend operations.
According to the news website EWN, the government had not yet come up with more than 10 billion Rand ($621 million) to support a restructuring plan published by administrators in June 2020.
The return of the airline to Nigeria has brought smiles to several numbers of its loyal customers.
SAA has been flying to Nigeria for the past 23 years and the resumption of the service is a welcome addition to its growing continental offering.
Kgokolo said the service is part of SAA’s gradual growth strategy, having resumed full operations in September.