By Mbafan Ade –
South African Airways (SAA) is set to resume operations on Sept. 23, this was confirmed in a statement by the firm, after 15 months of being grounded by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and undergoing business rescue.
“We are thrilled that SAA is resuming service after months of dedicated work, and we look forward to welcoming onboard our loyal customers and flying the South African flag,” SAA interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said.
“We continue to be a safe carrier and follow COVID-19 protocols,” said the company.
SAA will begin flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra (Ghana), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Harare (Zimbabwe), Lusaka (Zambia), and Maputo, he said (Mozambique).
In reaction to market conditions, the company indicated it will add destinations.
“As we prepare to take off, Team SAA is brimming with excitement, with one shared goal in mind: to create and sustain a profitable airline that once again takes the lead among local, continental, and worldwide carriers.
“We see this as a huge milestone for SAA and the country as we are now prepared for takeoff,” Kgokolo added.
Despite multiple government bailouts, SAA ran into financial difficulties and had to resort to a business rescue last year.
The government agreed to sell a controlling ownership in the airline to a local jet-leasing company and a private equity group in June 2021.
Global Airways, based in Johannesburg, which controls the recently founded local carrier Lift, and Harith General Partners, a private equity firm, will purchase a 51 percent stake in South African Airways.
The rebranded SAA is taking to the skies after reorganization and preparation, according to SAA board chairperson John Lamola.