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South African Airways: No Further Route Expansion

Without the capital injection from a potential equity stakeholder, the airline says it is not in a position to add additional routes to its network.

A South African Airways A340-300 (Photo: Shutterstock)

South Africa’s national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), will not be adding any routes to its network in the near future. The collapse of the protracted equity partnership deal with private investor Takatso Consortium has impacted the airline, leaving SAA unable to carry out its planned route network expansion. 

Rebuilding South African Airways

Since emerging from a business rescue process in 2021, the airline has cautiously been rebuilding its flight schedule and route network. It has experienced several challenges including aircraft shortages and technical issues in the period post-COVID-19, as it tried to scale up operations.

SAA’s Route Network

Initially, the restarted airline operated flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; before reintroducing flights to several destinations in neighbouring African nations. Now, coming up on three years since exiting business rescue, the airline flies to 14 destinations. 

South Africa’s flag carrier operates domestic routes including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth in South Africa.  Regionally, it flies to Windhoek, Namibia; Harare and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Lusaka, Zambia; Mauritius; Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; Accra, Ghana; and Lagos, Nigeria.

Intercontinental flights include Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Perth, Australia – launching on April 28.

No Further Route Expansion

In a televised interview, the chair of SAA’s Interim Board of Directors Derek Hanekom said that the airline now, fully back in state hands, will not see further route expansion in the short term. 

Hanekom said that no additional new routes would be launched for a couple of years, without capital injection from an equity partner or loans from capital markets. 

“We were planning to go beyond Perth as our second intercontinental flight. We were planning to do London, Frankfurt and North America. All of that has to be suspended, or rather, delayed. So, we are not going to go beyond Perth for the next couple of years,” Hanekom said. 

He said that in its current form South African Airways is a small and sustainable operation that does not rely on handouts from the state. “It’s not where we want it to be but it’s growing slowly and we believe, sustainably,” Hanekom stated.

Lorne Philipot


  • Lorne Philipot

    Lorne is a South Africa-based aviation journalist. He was captivated and fascinated by flying from the day he took his first airline flight. With a passion for aviation in his blood, he has flown to destinations in all corners of the globe. Lorne has traveled extensively and lived in various countries. Drawing on his travels and passion for aviation, Lorne enjoys writing about airlines, routes, networks, and new developments.

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