SA Airways continues network expansion into Africa


South African Airways (SAA) is expanding its network on the African continent, providing customers with even more travel options to destinations previously difficult to reach by air.
According to SAA’s Head of Australasia, Thevan Krishna, SAA will launch new operations to Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigali (Rwanda) and Cotonou (Benin) from 31 October this year: “Our Africa growth strategy aims to strengthen already-profitable routes and introduce new destinations, especially to African locations with currently limited air services,” Thevan said.
“Adding three new African destinations will enhance our already expansive route network. We aim to increase travel options for the convenience of our customers and ensure South Africa remains a major destination in its own right as well as a key transit point for connecting long-haul international traffic to regional African locations,” he said.
“Australians are increasingly interested in more than the standard recreational holiday experience in Africa, and these new destinations (complementing our already comprehensive network) give even more choice. We are also finding a rapid increase in business travel, such as in the mining and resources sector. We are aiming to give greater connectivity between centres where the convenience of air travel is limited. Destinations connected by SAA will now assist in enhancing business travel, further supporting these growing economies.” 

“Bujumbura is Burundi’s capital and largest city. It is close to the country’s main port, shipping coffee as its primary export. In addition to being the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali is also its economic, cultural and transport hub. Cotonou is the economic capital of Benin, and its most populated city.”
“SAA will service Bujumbura and Kigali three times a week while flights to Cotonou will operate twice a week as an extension of our existing Libreville (Gabon) service. All new routes will be serviced by SAA’s A319 aircraft.”
“We are also enhancing our partnership with regional carrier SA Express. SAA will withdraw from the Johannesburg-Gaborone route from 7 August, 2011. SA Express now operates between Johannesburg and Gaborone and will increase its frequency with a smaller gauge aircraft. SAA will continue to serve 20 African destinations across the continent.”
“Other improvements made to our network earlier in the year include increased frequencies to Entebbe, Uganda from March (from six to daily flights) with the introduction of a Tuesday service. An additional flight to Harare, Zimbabwe operating on Tuesdays was added, bringing the total number of frequencies to 18 per week. Larger aircraft are now also operating on certain flights to Nairobi (Kenya) and Windhoek (Namibia). All in all we have continued to invest in better service and equipment on all routes as we continue to grow our reach into Africa,” Thevan concluded.