LONDON – South African Airways (SAA) is has confirmed that the International Air Services Council (IASC) has ratified that the airline retains all its historical route traffic rights, following SAA’s voluntary relinquishing of the number of frequencies on the destinations it is not currently servicing.
In accordance with legislated and prescribed procedures, SAA meets with the IASC on a quarterly basis to review and justify its route network plan and traffic rights to destinations it is not yet flying to.
In September, the IASC had cancelled some of the airline’s rights to flight services it was not operating. These included Harare in Zimbabwe, Kinshasha in the DRC, Mauritius, Lagos in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana, Lusaka in Zambia, and Luanda in Angola.
The Council is under the regulation of the Department of Transport and operates in accordance with the International Air Services Licensing Act, which regulates and controls international air services in South Africa.
The Act states that air services on a licensed route cannot be interrupted for longer than three months or an alternative period as determined by the IASC.
Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Lamola, says “SAA, as a buoyant national airline, has an important enabling role in the South African economy.”
“Those routes and frequencies that are not part of SAA’s medium-term plans will progressively be released to the Council for the benefit of the industry.”
Additional African routes planned
In the coming weeks the airline will be announcing the addition of more routes to its growing network. SAA will be introducing flights to Blantyre and Lilongwe in Malawi, Windhoek in Namibia, and Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe before the start of the festive season.
Together with increased frequencies to Accra in Ghana, Cape Town, Durban, Harare in Zimbabwe, Lusaka in Zambia, Mauritius and Kinshasa in the DRC, these changes represent the second phase of SAA’s post-Covid restart operations which commenced thirteen months ago.
The airline says that it is on course to re-enter some of its traditional regional markets and enter new routes which remain underserved.
International route re-start
SAA is not operating beyond continental Africa as yet, but the airline states that plans are also underway to launch SAA’s first post re-start intercontinental route during the first quarter of the new year.
The airline has previously asked to retain its rights to operate services to the USA, Germany, the UK, Brazil, and Australia.