SAA returns to international skies
October has been a pivotal month for SAA. The airline not only reintroduced its first intercontinental flight to São Paulo since its relaunch two years ago but has also acquired two more leased A320s to enhance its domestic operations.
With air travel being a vital connector on local, regional, and international scales, these new additions are key to fostering relationships and facilitating international commerce.
The São Paulo route is designed to expand export and import opportunities, thus enriching existing trade ties between South Africa and Brazil.
SAA’s wide-body fleet comes equipped to carry various types of cargo—from general goods and pharmaceuticals to high-value items—enabling quick transportation of time-sensitive materials.
Plans in place to increase fleet to 13 aircraft servicing international routes
Reflecting on SAA’s journey, interim CEO Professor John Lamola stated that the airline had a robust strategy when it resumed operations in 2021.
“The more than 9,000 commercial flights we’ve completed are a testament to our strategy’s success,” he noted.
According to Lamola, the decision to reopen the São Paulo route followed rigorous economic analysis and took into account South Africa’s role in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
When SAA resumed flights in 2021, it began with just three routes. Now, the airline serves 10 international, three domestic, and one intercontinental destination. With a current fleet of eight aircraft, SAA aims to further expand its destinations and have 13 aircraft in service by March 2024.
Schedule for direct flights to São Paulo
The renewed São Paulo service bodes well for South Africa’s tourism industry, expected to grow by an average of 7.6% per year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The inaugural flight to São Paulo took off from Cape Town on Tuesday, 31 October 2023, at 12:55.
Flights from Johannesburg will commence on Monday, 6 November 2023.
Cape Town flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays, while Johannesburg flights will be on Mondays and Thursdays.