SAA acting chief executive Zuks Ramasia said according to the International Airlines Transport Association’s benchmark of OTP, an airline is on-time when it arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
SAA acting chief executive Zuks Ramasia said according to the International Airlines Transport Association’s benchmark of OTP, an airline is on-time when it arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

SAA named one of the top on-time airlines in the world

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published Jan 7, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG – South African Airways (SAA), the state-owned airline that was recently placed under business rescue has been named as one of the top-performing airlines globally for on-time performance (OTP) by travel data and analytics company, Cirium.

According to a report released by Cirium on Tuesday, SAA was ranked fourth in the category for the Middle East and Africa mainline carriers, ahead of some of its major competitors, making SAA the leading African carrier on OTP.

SAA acting chief executive Zuks Ramasia said according to the International Airlines Transport Association’s benchmark of OTP, an airline is on-time when it arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled time of arrival or departs within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time. “We are excited that most of the time we adhere to these deadlines.”

SAA’s overall on-time performance across its route network is 85.69 percent.

“We are encouraged by this latest announcement about our performance.  It is an endorsement and occasion to celebrate a great achievement, especially when judged against our own peers, globally. Customers always have a choice and those who elect to fly with us recognise that we are a dependable airline. The results speak volumes about the consistency and reliability of our operations – a key feature underlying our customer value proposition.  This is an important attribute of our business,” said Ramasia.

SAA suffered a bloody nose when its employees an eight-day strike. Tlali Tlali, the head of Media Relations at SAA said most of SAA’s domestic passengers were accommodated by SAA’s subsidiary airline, Mango, which had not been on strike.

“During the industrial action, SAA managed to provide service for approximately 40 percent of our customers. International services were only cancelled for a total of two days, several regional services operated as usual and nearly all domestic passengers were re-accommodated by our subsidiary airline, Mango,” he said.

SAA is now the first state-owned enterprise to be placed under business rescue, with Les Matuson appointed as the business rescue practitioner for the airline, which has racked up billions of rand worth of losses in the past few years. 

If Matuson, who was in charge of the business rescue of Ellerines, which was previously SA's biggest business rescue, believes the airline is worth saving, he is expected to cut routes and restructure the company. If not, he is duty-bound to have the airline liquidated, even if that means mass retrenchments.

Cirium works with more than 90 percent of the world’s top 50 airlines. The company, which has published its annual On-time Performance (OTP) Review for the past 11 years, provides a definitive list of the world’s best-performing airlines and airports for on-time flight operations.

Cirium chief executive Jeremy Bowen said achieving world-class customer satisfaction and industry-leading product differentiation was about more than just competitively priced tickets and flight availability. 

“When choosing whom to fly with, savvy travellers also now consider airline punctuality and operational reliability. We believe Cirium’s On-Time Performance Review 2019 will inspire airlines and airports to continue innovating to improve their performance,” he said.

According to Bowen, by embracing digital transformation and leveraging data to its full potential, Cirium can help the aviation industry harness its power to improve on-time performance and enhance the passenger experience.

BUSINESS REPORT

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