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South African Airways Resumes Flights to Perth

The airline will once again connect South Africa with Australia.

A South African Airways A340-600 on approach to Frankfurt. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

South African Airways (SAA) has officially announced the return of its flights to Perth, Australia. After a four-year hiatus, bookings are now open for the inaugural flight scheduled on April 28, 2024, establishing a key link between Johannesburg and Perth. 

Under the leadership of CEO John Lamola, SAA is navigating a path of recovery and growth, emerging stronger from the challenges of the pandemic and creditor protection proceedings. The return of the Perth route comes just six months after the successful launch of the Sao Paulo, Brazil route on October 31, 2023.

“Besides the global interconnectivity potential of this route, Perth has long been a favoured destination for South African and Australian travellers, with approximately 80% of our target market being visiting family and friends,” adds Lamola in a press release. “The recommencement of the route provides an easier and direct passage for both leisure and business travellers, promoting trade and cultural exchange between South Africa and Australia.”

Southern Hemisphere Connections

The Perth route complements SAA’s Sao Paulo route, creating a Southern Hemisphere travel package that seamlessly connects Perth to Sao Paulo via Johannesburg.

With Perth being a favored destination for South African and Australian travelers, the route is set to facilitate seamless travel for leisure and business purposes, promoting trade and cultural exchange between the two nations. The Perth route facilitates seamless travel into and out of Australia for customers of the 25 airlines that are co-members of the Star Alliance.

South African Airways’ reinstated Perth route carries unique significance as it positions the airline as the sole carrier to offer flights between Africa and Western Australia. Notably, Qantas operated between Perth and Johannesburg for a short period (November 2022 to March 2023), making SAA the exclusive provider of this air link.

For the launch phase of the route, SAA will operate the Airbus A340-300, offering a total seat capacity of 253, including 38 business class seats and 215 economy seats. Flights on the Johannesburg-Perth route (SA 280) are scheduled three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, departing at 8:55 p.m. local time from OR Tambo International Airport and arriving at Perth International Airport the following day at 12:20 p.m.. The return flights from Perth (SA 281) are scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, departing at 2:40 p.m. local time and arriving the following day at 7:35 p.m. in Johannesburg.

The reintroduction of the Perth route aligns with SAA’s broader growth strategy, driven by CEO John Lamola’s vision. The airline aims to build a fleet of 21 airplanes by the end of 2025, with long-term plans envisioning a fleet size ranging between 38 to 40 jets.

SAA’s global ambitions are further bolstered by partnerships, including the collaboration with SunExpress, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. SunExpress’s involvement in a multi-year agreement to fly aircraft for SAA during the European winter season reflects a deepening alliance, aiming to send four aircraft to South Africa in the 2024-25 European winter season.

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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