THE International Air Services Licensing Council (IASLC) has ratified that SAA retained all its historical route traffic rights, following the airliner’s voluntary relinquishing of the number of frequencies on the destinations it was not currently servicing, South African Airways (SAA) leadership confirmed on Wednesday.
In a press statement SAA Executive Chairman and CEO, Professor John Lamola said SAA, was a buoyant national airline, which had an important enabling role in the South African economy. “Those routes and frequency licences that are not part of SAA’s medium-term plans will progressively be released to the IASLC for the benefit of the industry.”
In accordance with legislated and prescribed procedures, SAA mets with the IASLC on a quarterly basis to review and justify its route network plan and traffic rights to destinations it was not yet flying to.
In the coming weeks the airline said it would be announcing the addition of more routes to its growing network. SAA would 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, it said these changes represened the second phase of its post-Covid restart operations which commenced thirteen months ago.
The airline said it was on course to re-enter some of its traditional regional markets and enter new routes which remained underserved. Plans were also underway to launch SAA’s first post re-start intercontinental route during the first quarter of the new year.
Last month, SAA then currently operated 7 Airbus aircraft, consisting of 2x A320s, 3x A319s, 1x A330-300 and 1x A340-300. It said the A340 aircraft supported the schedule as an additional aircraft during required fleet maintenance or when capacity demand required the deployment of a larger aircraft accommodating more passengers. As the peak holiday season approached, it said it was bringing into service an additional three (3) A320 aircraft, bringing the total number of A320s to 5 aircraft to support the high-capacity demand. The first of these was delivered in September 2022 and the rest will be delivered every month from thence.
This came in the face of delays with the implementation of the capital restructuring transaction involving a Strategic Equity Partner. The airline however maintained it was on course to deliver a commercially sustainable and world-class air passenger and cargo services in South Africa, regionally and soon globally.