S’African Airways to Commence Flights to Abuja Jan 2016
South Africa national carrier, the South African Airways (SAA), yesterday said it would commence flight operations from Johannesburg to Abuja on January 26, 2016.
The direct flight to Abuja would make it South African second gate way into Africa’s most populated country.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on the ground breaking event-the flight operation in 71 days time, SAA, Head for Africa’s operation, Mr. Aaron Munestsi, said: “We are happy to say that we are opening second gateway into Africa’s most populated nation and biggest economy in the next 71 days from today.”
He said SAA would commence operations with three flights weekly non-stop between Abuja and directly to South Africa, adding that: “We are so proud of this development, and very soon, we hope to increase the frequency from three flights per week to seven flights within the week.”
According to him, the national carrier which is the oldest in the continent has been awarded the best airline operator consecutively in the last 14 years.
He said: “South African Airways is the oldest airline on the African continent; we are so proud; we want to share everything like the comfort, the safety and the technical expertise that we have with other African nations.
“SAA has been operating to Lagos since 1998. For 14 consecutive years, we have been awarded the best airline in Africa, so we are here to develop our foot print on the continent. Airline operators from Europe and other continents come to South Africa for technical upgrade and maintenance of their fleet.”
Underscoring the airline as the leader in the continent, he said the airline was aware of its responsibility
as a leader on the continent to other African countries to grow their respective sector, adding: “We are aware that we should develop our foot prints on the continent and we cannot do that if we don’t reach as many countries as possible on the continent as we have a strong and experienced technical base which Africa can be proud of.
“We are in the process of establishing a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in Ghana and Nigeria, and these expertise as far as we are concerned, is what we want to share with Africans and not just our flying experience.”
With the gate way through Abuja to other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, he said: “We shall bring the rest of the world to Abuja and Abuja to the rest of the world, bearing in mind that we are also member of the Star Alliance with capability to reach over 100 destinations globally.”
In his remarks, South African, High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni, said the opening of another gate to Nigeria would bridge the gap between two African nations, and business relations.
He said: “Africa is of primary importance to our foreign policy and in pursuant of the African agenda in our principles. The day has finally arrived where our flight national carrier will now be able to fly from Abuja to Johannesburg.
“We hope that that will further act as a catalyst and accelerate our trade relations and help in assisting to promote people to people contact and make our youth development expand, and of course, with South Africa tourism as one of its pillars which will assist both countries.”