Tue. Nov 30th, 2021

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.

The Independent

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