TIME TO WING IT: Georgia May Jagger starts the race between rugby wing Bryan Habana and a British Airways A380.

Cape Town - SAA services between Joburg and Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport – the largest in East Africa – resumed on Friday last week after a fire three days earlier destroyed the airport’s main arrivals hall and caused SAA and other international airlines to cancel flights.

Those already on their way to Kenya were diverted to Mombasa when the fire broke out.

It threatened disaster for Kenya’s economy, to which international tourism and the export of flowers to the northern hemisphere are important.

But staff of Kenya Airways – one of the best in Africa – worked overtime to save the situation.

They put on additional flights to overseas destinations, including London, to bring tourists who had already booked to Mombasa Airport.

Their first flight from Nairobi to Joburg’s OR Tambo International Airport arrived the day after the fire and after that the airline maintained its regular schedule to this country.

Other international flights were gradually increased during the week and were expected to be back to normal by Thursday this week.

Cargo flights were quickly resumed after the fire and were back to normal for most of the week.

It was a really impressive performance by Kenya Airways, confirming its high reputation.



* I was astonished to discover during the week that what I thought to be a silly and pointless publicity stunt had been a huge success.

To draw attention to its acquisition of the first of 12 giant Airbus A380 aircraft, British Airways (BA) is raising money internationally to provide food for poor South African families.

The stunt was for rugby star Bryan Habana to race against an A380 for 100m as it gathers speed for take-off.

It seems to have been a success in drawing attention to the plight of families who go to bed hungry because Habana is a supporter of FoodBank South Africa, which is leading an effort to establish food banks in communities with the highest concentration of hungry people.

It buys nutritious food in bulk to be taken to depots from where it is collected by volunteers for distribution to poor families.

A video clip of the race was shown internationally on YouTube, with the information that a national survey has shown that one in four South African families in poor communities cannot afford sufficient food, and has become one of its most successful campaigns.

It prompted BA to offer two business-class tickets worth more than R60 000 to be auctioned by FoodBank in addition to any other donations from viewers of the video, which has been watched more than 1.5 million times after being uploaded on to the site.

Jill Ritchie, Foodbank South Africa’s fund development strategist, and Sue Botes, BA’s commercial manager for southern Africa, were also surprised by the success of the video.

Ritchie said the tickets would be auctioned later in the year and it was hoped the publicity would ensure that they fetched more than their market value.

Botes said that if the video was called up more than two million times, BA would donate two more tickets for the auction.

As I have already mentioned in this column, the first destinations the A380 will fly to are Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Joburg will be the third. - Weekend Argus