South African Airways (SAA) is set to relaunch operations on its Johannesburg to Durban route, in response to popular demand from the airline’s customers and partners.
After a 15-month hiatus, SAA returned to operations on September 27, 2021. Since then, the airline’s management has been re-developing the airline’s network by collating and monitoring passenger data on different routes, according to the airline.
Demand from SAA’s customers and partners has set in motion the momentum needed to restart operations on this route.
“The short-haul route between Johannesburg and Durban is one of the busiest in South Africa, and our customers and partners have been asking us to fly this route since we took to the skies again in September 2021,” said Interim Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kgokolo in a statement.
The flag carrier will resume flights between the two cities on March 4, 2022.
South African Airways operates an intra-continental schedule to major African capitals in central and southern Africa. This includes destinations such as Accra, Ghana, Kinshasa, DRC, Harare, Zimbabwe, Lusaka, Zambia and Maputo, Mozambique.
Domestically, SAA operates on the popular route between Johannesburg and Cape Town. However, opening its schedule to Durban, is pointing towards the airline serving more regional traffic.
“SAA will make it easier for customers from across its growing Africa network to reach Durban on a single SAA ticket, and easier for Durbanites to conveniently connect on SAA to Accra, Harare, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lusaka and Mauritius services,” explains Kgokolo.
According to data from Airport Company South Africa, Durban’s King Shaka International Airport served over 1,5 million passengers in FY20/21 and over 2,2 million passengers in FY21/22, showing an uptick in travel following the pandemic downturn.
In FY19/20 the airport served 6,099,628 passengers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the aviation industry the world over requiring airline’s to be nimble but deliberate with network plans. Our overriding remit is to make sure SAA becomes and remains a successful and profitable carrier in this constantly changing and highly competitive environment,” says Kgokolo.
The carrier aims to stay flexible and to deploy the necessary fleet capacity on routes with corresponding passenger traffic.
Kgokolo explains that: “SAA has been back in service for just over three months and is constantly evaluating passenger volumes and revenue projections on all its existing and target routes. The goal is to match capacity with demand as closely as possible and add new routes only where and when it makes sense.”
Today the carrier operates an all-Airbus fleet of 14 aircraft consisting of Airbus A319, A320, A340 and A330 aircraft.