The country’s fourth democratic President is to be inaugurated on Saturday 24 May at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
SAA announced in a statement that it has lined up one of its Airbus A340-600 aircraft to perform the fly-over with an estimated time over target of 11:57 local time.
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The aircraft will be accompanied by the South African Air Force Silver Falcons in formation to conduct the fly-over with two passes over the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.
Captain Sandy Bayne, SAA’s Head of Flight Operations (Acting), Captain Pierre Gouws, and SFO Arthur Phaswana, a Senior First Officer on the Airbus A319/320 fleet, will be in the flight deck.
SAA’s Group Chief Executive, Monwabisi Kalawe, and Zuks Ramasia, SAA General Manager: Operations will also be on board the flight.
“We are looking forward to this auspicious occasion and we believe that SAA’s presence in the skies over the Union Buildings will add much lustre to the inaugural programme. South Africans always find it heart-warming to see their national carrier joining in an event of such national importance,” says Bayne.
SAA pilots have over the years become famous and synonymous with flying large aircraft such as the Boeing B747-400 and Airbus A340-600 at big international air shows across the world, as well as at national events such as the presidential inauguration.
“Our most recent fly-over was at the Durban Land, Sea and Air Festival which was held on 22 March 2014 at North Beach, Durban where our Airbus A319 made a special appearance by leading the South African Air Force Silver Falcons in a spectacular display just 300 feet above the sea.” says Captain Bayne.
South Africans especially remember the excitement and awe at watching formation fly-overs at the Union Buildings in Pretoria when President Mbeki and later President Zuma were inaugurated and the Airbus A340 and two Boeing B747s flew over the World Cup Cricket final at Wanderers Stadium.
South African Airways fly-overs started at the Rugby World Cup event in 1995, with the late Captain Laurie Kay in command on that occasion.
Here’s to continuing this proud tradition.
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