South African Airways (SAA), which returned from a pandemic pause in September 2021, continues to add to its route network.
On Wednesday, the carrier announced that it would add new service between Johannesburg and Durban three times daily starting on March 4, 2022, a short-haul route that SAA says is one of the busiest in the country.
“Our customers and partners have been asking us to fly this route since we took to the skies again in September 2021,” SAA’s interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said on Wednesday.
“We’ve been waiting for the data to guide us on timing and we’re delighted that the time is now right to add this important route back to the SAA network and further support the recovery of South Africa’s business and tourism sectors.”
Travel advisors will now be able to book the new route in all major reservation systems.
The goal for SAA, according to Kgokolo, is to “remain nimble” and to be “deliberate with network plans” coming out of the pandemic. SAA had been dealing with financial troubles since before the COVID-19 pandemic, entering a formal business rescue process that it came out of at the end of April 2021.
Kgokolo added that “our overriding remit is to make sure SAA becomes and remains a successful and profitable carrier in this constantly changing and highly competitive environment.”
The future of the carrier also reportedly includes the creation of a pan-African airline with Kenya Airways, another African carrier that had struggled financially as of late. Earlier this month it was revealed that the two were preparing to enter a formal partnership.
According to One Mile At A Time, Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, confirmed the plans during his New Year’s state.
“To boost tourism, trade, as well as social engagement, and to bolster continental integration, our national carrier Kenya Airways will join hands with partners in South Africa to establish a Pan-African airline, with unmatched continental reach and global coverage,” he said.
While there’s not much yet revealed, the partnership would allow the carriers to join forces either through a joint venture or some other alliance. It would also allow South Africa to regain some of its long-haul options that were cut during the pandemic.