SAA’s Perth reboot celebrated across country

Industry gather in Sydney to mark South African Airways' Australia return

Credit: InLight Studios

After a four-year absence, South African Airways (SAA) this week resumed flights to Australia with a new Perth to Johannesburg service on the popular route that is already posting healthy load factors.

Trade partners were treated to an African-themed night at Sydney’s Sheraton Grand Hyde Park Hotel which was hosted by Michael Hall SAA’s newly-appointed Country Manager for Australia/New Zealand to celebrate the South African flag carrier’s return.

Speaking to LATTE at the event, Hall said while May is a soft month, loads are looking stronger and stronger onwards for June and July.

“Whilst we only fly out of Perth, our direct non-stop flights will appeal to holidaymakers across Australia and New Zealand who are keen to go on safaris and explore exciting South Africa”.

South African Airways A340-300 touched back down in Australia on Monday with flights restarting to Perth

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He said with 200,000 South Africans living in Australia there is a very strong VFR market and corporates from WA’s mining sector that will find the flights convenient.

“As soon as you step on board, you are in Africa, and we are renowned for our African-themed food, everyone always raves about it”, Hall noted.

The flight across the Indian Ocean takes just under 11 hours to Johannesburg on an Airbus A340-300 – a 19-year old aircraft, but very well maintained, Hall said.

It’s configured to carry a total of 253 passengers – 38 in Business Class and 215 in Economy.

“The newly-designed slim-line Business Class seats, with fully lie-back beds, in a 2-2-2 layout have a 73” pitch offering lots of personal space and generous legroom.”

“Economy Class seats have a 32” pitch so there is lots of room between the seats making for an extremely comfortable flight,” said Hall.

In Sydney last night, from left: Michael Hall, Country Manager, Australia/New Zealand; with Reece Farmilo and Kathy Kotzias from Out and About Travel.

Western Australia’s Minister for Tourism, Rita Saffioti said SAA’s resumption of flights is welcome news for South African expats as well as those travelling to WA for major events such as the Springbok fans, who now have a direct connection ahead of the Rugby Championship match in August at Optus Stadium.

SAA hopes to increase its thrice-weekly service to daily in the future, but the carrier isn’t planning to extend its services onto Sydney.

“It wouldn’t make sense to go up against Qantas. It’s got a strong presence here so we will focus all of our efforts on Perth, for the time being,” added Hall.

Pictured at last night’s event in Sydney from left are: newly recruited Greg Atkins, Sales Manager NSW/Queensland, South African Airways and Jacqui Walshe, Executive Chair, The Walshe Group, and Michael Hall, Country Manager, AU/NZ, South African Airways. Credit:  InLight Studios

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