SAA wants to drive aviation growth in Africa

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Miami - South African Airways (SAA) wants to focus on growing its African network and improving interconnectivity on the continent.

SAA said it has a crucial role to play in driving aviation traffic growth and economic development.

Nico Bezuidenhout, SAA's acting CEO, emphasised that the company’s goal is to increase its revenue in the region by 30% in the next 12 months.

Bezuidenhout was speaking at the International Air Transport Association (Iata) annual general meeting in Miami.

"Africa is a huge potential market for aviation and as Africa’s legacy airline, we want to see the continent contribute to more than the current 3% of global aviation,” said Bezuidenhout.

SAA is already strengthening its position in West Africa with the launch of a new service between Accra, Ghana and Washington DC in the US.

Starting August 3 2015, SAA will be providing the only nonstop flight between Ghana and Washington DC, as well as the only Skytrax 4-Star rated airline service from the entire West Africa region to North America.

SAA entered into a bilateral codeshare agreement with Africa World Airlines. This airline partnership will offer SAA customers from Washington and Johannesburg seamless connectivity via Accra to other destinations in Ghana such as Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale as well as to Lagos, Nigeria.

Bezuidenhout said SAA has improved its performance since its 90-day action plan was completed, "with a material year-on-year improvement noticeable in the current financial year" which commenced in April 2015.

The plan included major cost-cutting initiatives and network optimisation, which led to significant savings. SAA is now ready to boost its capacity and focus on its African routes.   

“In the first quarter of 2015, a lot of effort went into stabilising our airline and we achieved significant milestones. We now want to grow our capabilities and better connect South Africa to the rest of the continent,” said Bezuidenhout.

* Fin24 is an Iata guest at its AGM. 

        
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