SAA plans to add new routes to its international network, including Russia, through existing and new partnerships with other airlines. According to a recent Government Gazette, the airline has applied for a number of new routes as well as more frequencies on some of its existing regional routes. These include Moscow, Russia; Asuncion, Paraguay; Lomé, Togo; Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; Montevideo, Uruguay; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Praia and Ilha do Sol, Cape Verde; Ndjamena, Chad; Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kingston, Jamaica; and Abuja, Nigeria. The introduction dates for all routes range from April to July this year.
SAA Spokesperson, Tlali Tlali, told Tourism Update: “SAA has stated it would be suspending some of its international routes in an effort to increase profitability. This is indeed still the case. However, SAA still has to have a presence on the international stage, which will be done by expanding and/or entering into new codeshare arrangements and not by a direct service by SAA. At this stage certain markets do not warrant the introduction of direct services by SAA and therefore we have taken the decision to serve these on a codeshare-only basis.”
He says that, in terms of the International Air Services Act, for a South African carrier to be able to serve a specific destination, be it in its own right or on a codeshare basis, a carrier has to hold the underlying traffic rights. “It is SAA’s intention to expand certain of its existing codeshare arrangements and/or enter into new codeshares. Due to discussions that are still ongoing, we are not able to advise who the future codeshare partners will be,” says Tlali.
In Africa, SAA has also applied for additional rights to some destinations it already serves. These include seven return flights a week to Accra, Ghana; five return flights per week to both Blantyre and Lilongwe, Malawi; and two return flights per week to Lagos, Nigeria.