Durban - Revived national carrier South African Airways resumed flights between Johannesburg and Durban yesterday, with the 8.10am arrival of flight SA 531 at King Shaka International Airport.
The aircraft received the traditional welcomes of water sprays on the tarmac and, outside the terminal building, Zulu and Indian dancing.
Interim chief executive officer Thomas Kgokolo told reporters that the airline, that controversially swallowed billions in taxpayers’ money before going into business rescue, was now looking at the Durban-Cape Town route.
“We don't have a date yet. We don’t have the number of aircraft we had before. As we ramp up and add more aircraft, it will definitely be a route that we look at,” Kgokolo said.
SAA has been operating the Johannesburg-Cape Town route since September.
Kgokolo added that Durban’s traditional international link, to Mauritius, was also under consideration, with flights to the destination having already started from Johannesburg.
He stressed that operating under the present model, with the Takatso Consortium holding a 51% stake alongside the Department of Public Enterprises’s 49%, “we shouldn’t need to be going back to the government for funding”.
“We believe the current model of the airline should sustain it going forward. That’s the intention, anyway.”
Jubilant ground staff, who had been at home for two years since flights were suspended when the country went into lockdown, joked that they had to “make plans for our uniforms to fit us again”.
The Independent on Saturday