South African Airways CEO plans to grow fleet by 50%, add nine new destinations

South African Airways Airbus A330
Vidit Luthra /

The interim CEO of South African Airways (SAA) has indicated that he plans to grow the aircraft fleet and add nine new destinations in the near future, according to Bloomberg.  

John Lamola told Bloomberg during an interview on July 4, 2024, that he hoped to increase the number of aircraft at the airline to 21 by March 2025 and launch nine new destinations from Johannesburg by April 2025.  

In March 2024, attempts by the South African government to sell a 51% majority stake in South African Airways failed after three years of negotiations.   

The plan had been for the South African government to hold onto the remaining 49% and Takatso Consortium become the new Strategic Equity Partner (SEP) holding 51% of the airline.  

“We are cash positive as a company, and we are able to survive in the next 12 to 18 months on our own,” Lamoma told Bloomberg. “Our strategic position is to differentiate ourselves as a national flag-carrier to be able to offer the country the connectivity with key investment and trading partners.” 

Lamona also stated that the airline today is “different” to the pre-COVID South African Airways. 

“The pre-COVID South African Airways was fueled by taxpayers’ money. It had a history that is well known for corrupt practices and so on,” Lamona added.  

However, Lamona said the carrier is now “surviving on our own steam” and the culture at the company is now one of pride.  

The CEO was unable to add further details of the nine new destinations due to commercial sensitivities.  

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