SAA announces operations to Abuja, restates better services pledge
The Regional General Manager, Africa and the Middle East, Mr. Aaron Munetsi, said the Johannesburg-Abuja flight will begin with three flights per week and would later graduate to daily flight.
According to him, the introduction of the new flights point in Nigeria was part of the company’s quest to boost trade between Nigeria and other nations of the world as well as unlock mobility, which will considerably add to business travel options to and from West African region.
His words: “A second entry point in Nigeria forms part of our long-term turnaround strategy, which identified growth on the African continent as one of our key objectives. Nigeria is one of the fastest growing air travel markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and will be well served with our additional services to Abuja”.
“Enhancing air travel links with Nigeria speaks to the growth in bilateral relations between South Africa and Nigeria. The two countries historically have has strong economic, diplomatic, social and fraternal ties.
“With Abuja flights, SAA would be serving eight destinations in Central and West Africa”, he said.
Munetsi added that the three weekly flights will operate non-stop between Johannesburg and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja aboard modern Airbus 330-200s.
While Flight SA088 is expected to depart Johannesburg at 23h20 and arrive Abuja 04h10 the following day on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, flight SA 089 will depart Abuja at 08h45 and arrive Johannesburg on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with effect from January 26.
In his remarks, South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Lulu Louis Mnguni, stressed that Africa remains the focal point of South African foreign policy. He said such a day has been waited for to share South African experience with the rest of Africa.
Also, SAA has taken corrective service delivery action to offer passengers seamless flights during the festive season.
The airline implemented a number of service delivery improvements at King Shaka International Airport in Durban, following service delivery failure on 26 October where a number of customers were inconvenienced after flight SA334 from Cape Town, en route to Johannesburg diverted to Durban.
The Spokesperson, SAA, Mr Tlali Tlali said: “We again apologise to our customers who endured the inconvenience of spending lengthy hours in Durban with no access to suitable facilities before they could fly back to Johannesburg. SAA deeply regrets the incident. It displayed the weaknesses in SAA contingency measures at King Shaka International Airport to mitigate any irregular operations to ensure business continuity.
“We noted that the one aspect of this service failure dealt with the preparation and mobilisation of adequate staff to enable them to respond to any irregular operations with the required levels of efficiencies. In addition, we have now put appropriate measures in place to ensure that hotel accommodation; ground transportation and third party service providers are able to respond to operational challenges arising from irregular operations.
Furthermore, SAA will insist on the maintenance of proper telephone logbook for improved and recorded contact with the next-of-kin where unaccompanied minors or the aged are on board during the irregular operations,” Tlali added.
According to the airline, SAA would like to assure customers that the airline has geared for the high volumes of travellers over the festive season.
The airline traditionally transports large number of young passengers who travel on their own over the festive season.