The Best of Aviation in 2015

Cape Town – There is less than a month of 2015 left, which means we get to reflect on some of the best and worst moments of the year.

While there were some dark moments in air travel, like the tragic crash of the Germanwings flight, and the more recent Egypt crash, 2015 had some golden moments in aviation too.

Looking back, we remember Cape Town’s airport approach being named as one of the most beautiful ones in the world.

This proved that even before touching ground in our beautiful country, travellers get to experience SA’s splendour.

READ: Cape Town's airport approach ranked as one of the most scenic in the world

Traveller24 also got a spanking new flight booking tool, which allows travellers to search for some of the best flight deals to anywhere on the globe!

NEW - Check out Traveller24's new flights search/booking tool and special flight deals

Looking to the future, we are excited about the prospects of travelling to London from Johannesburg in less and an hour – making use of new supersonic jets.

Air travel is also expanding rapidly and with great leaps, as there are currently three airlines competing to increase the world’s longest commercially operated flight route within the next few months.

HAVE YOU SEEN: Six futuristic aircraft ideas that might actually happen soon

What makes airlines function, however, are passengers. Passengers ensure enough money is generated to think about future plans, airport expansions and airline improvements.

They also ensure for a good laugh, every so often…

Share your favourite aviation moment of 2015 with us. You can email us at or connect with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Here are our Top 10 Moments of Aviation in 2015:

Cabin confessions

Kulula operates more than 412 flights a week in SA, so it’s understandable that their cabin crew meets diverse travellers on the job.
After sharing some of the hilarious experiences they’ve encountered, many other cabin crew members, passengers and airport staff let us in on some of their most bizarre experiences.

Read the full story here: Confessions of kulula cabin crew

A photo posted by Bianca Naransamy (@binx836) on

When FlySafair blew the lid with the R1 sale

For some, the FlySafair birthday sale was a highlight, while for others it was agony and frustration. Either way, the newcomer low cost airline said it set a "new record in domestic aviation since it was essentially paying passengers to fly ".

The R1 sale was launched in celebration of its first year in business. The carrier released 30 000 tickets for just R1.00 each on 25 August, including airport taxes, for travel on any of its routes between now and March 2016.

Although they anticipated an surge in online ticket bookers, they didn’t expect their entire site to crash, forcing them to extent the sale to another day.

It was a first in SA low cost travel…

See how it happened here:

FlySafair announces crazy R1 birthday sale

FlySafair to extend sale as 'R1' promotion crashes website

FlySafair: R1 sale set 'new domestic aviation record'


When a glitch cause passengers to (almost) get cheap flights with SAA

South African Airways passengers in March this year could not believe their luck when they were able to book a return business class ticket from South Africa to Abu Dhabi for only R900…

But their luck turned out to be the result of a glitch on the airline's online site, and disappointed buyers got refunds from the airline, that was unable to honour the bookings.  

It created a national stir for passengers looking to go overseas…

SEE: SAA glitch causes passengers to buy tickets for next to nothing

When a Boeing cruised along the R21 in Joburg

Road users in Kempton Park could not believe their eyes in January this year when kulula transported a massive Boeing on the R21.

The airline explained they were transporting the old Boeing 737-300 to their operations building for cabin crew training purposes.

In a post on Facebook, they said, "We’re putting an old aircraft to good use to bring you the best crew in the business... We got approval from all the relevant big cheeses to close off the R21 on Sunday for 4 hours."

See all the photos and video here: PICS: Boeing 737 takes a little trip along Joburg's R21

A photo posted by @trevorton on

When the world’s largest aircraft landed in Ireland

The Airbus A380 and Boeing Dreamliner are of the largest commercially operating aircraft. But they are by no means as big as the Antonov 225 Mriya…

This Antonov is the largest, longest and heaviest plane ever built and was designed in the mid-1980s in Ukraine for the purposes of carrying the Soviet Union's Buran space shuttle between launch and landing sites.

It has a wingspan of 88.4m, is 84m long and 8.1m high. It’s propelled by six turbofan engines, and when it comes in to land a full 32 wheels has to support its weight.
So, it really is no surprise that plane spotters flocked to Shannon Airport in Ireland in April to witness the Antonov, now a cargo plane, come in to land for a pit stop en route from Bangor in Wales to Châteauroux Airport in France.

Shannon Airport was the only one in Ireland able to accommodate the massive plane.

See the event here: PICS: World's largest aircraft comes in to land

A photo posted by @pedro.mcmahon on

When a major player in the air travel industry got real with SAA

Stephen Ekbergh, the head of one of Africa’s largest online travel booking websites, took SAA to task following the announcement of their 90-day turnaround plan in February this year.

Ekbergh wrote a frank letter to the airline, listing ways and means for the airline to improve its dire financial situation.

Amid all the sales talk and honeyed marketing stunts, it was refreshing to hear an honest opinion from a major player in the airline industry.

READ his letter to SAA here: TravelStart CEO writes scathing letter to SAA

When this Boeing did a near vertical take off

Planespotters were left with stars in their eyes after a massive Boeing released video of a brand new Dreamliner 787-9 doing a super impressive rehearsal for the 2015 Paris Airshow.

In the video, the pilots managed to fly the aircraft straight into the air at what seems like a perfect 90 degree angle.

We were amazed…

You can see the footage here: WATCH: Boeing Dreamliner 787's amazing near-vertical take-off

When this perfect emergency landing was carried out at Lanseria

In May this year, The pilot of a Partenavia AP68TP  showed his mettle when he expertly landing the extremely rare plane on only two wheels after its nose landing gear failed.

An eyewitness, Mike Christoph, who managed to capture the textbook landing on camera, said that after numerous procedures to try and get the landing gear to work, the pilot managed to land the Partenavia AP68TP with such precision that it balanced on the two wheels for several metres on the runway before slowing down and gently tipping forward, skidding with its nose on the tarmac.

Check it out here: WATCH: The 'perfect' emergency landing caught on camera at Lanseria Airport

When it was announced that middle seats could soon be a thing of the past

Since the start of commercial air travel, middle seats have been like a sore toe for paying passengers.

So when a smart independent seating manufacturer company announced an idea that rethinks economy seating without sacrificing the passenger experience for anyone — including the person stuck in the middle seat – we were thrilled.

READ: Middle-seat passenger blues might soon be a thing of the past

When the first planes took off from Wonderboom

The first flight from a newly upgraded Wonderboom National Airport in the North of Pretoria took off for Cape Town International in August this year.

Gauteng premier David Makhura said the improvements at the airport meant Pretoria was not only "building a new economy", but also developing the city as a whole.  

Airlink operated the inaugural flight and also operates a three times a day return air-service between Pretoria and Cape Town using the SAA franchise, including the SAA flight code (SA).

See the inaugural flight here: PICS: First Wonderboom direct flight to Cape Town takes off

Share your favourite aviation moment of 2015 with us. You can email us at or connect with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Until the matric exams are over, my family is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Self-isolating to ensure we don't miss any exams
13% - 174 votes
Following Covid-19 safety protocols, but still going out like normal
54% - 743 votes
Business as usual, we're not worried about the virus
33% - 459 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo