According to South African Airways’ Head of Australasia, Thevan Krishna, the airline has been buoyed by healthy forward bookings on the Australia-South Africa route, despite high international fuel prices.
After a very successful INDABA, Africa’s premier travel and tourism expo held last month in Durban, Thevan said SAA’s strategy to focus on the strength of its network on the African continent and key international routes, including Australia, would pay dividends for the airline.
“Like all long-distance carriers we are not immune to high fuel prices. But we are also very fortunate that there is increased tourist, VFR and business interest in Africa, helped by a strong Aussie dollar,” Thevan said this week.
“SAA’s confidence in the Australian market is why we have scheduled our new A340-600 aircraft to fly into Perth from November 1 with five flights per week to meet increased demand,” Thevan said.
“The new aircraft means we will have an additional 67 seat capacity, including an extra 18 business class seats. We have found unprecedented demand for our business class with our award-winning lie-flat seat on all flights and improved menus and on-board service.
“In economy class we will have a generous 34” seat pitch and personal TV screens on all flights.
Thevan said that SAA had again won Best Airline to Africa in recent travel industry awards for the 15th year in a row.
“Winning this award against stiff competition confirms our strategy of being the best airline to and within Africa.
“We are constantly evaluating our routes in Africa to cater to growing tourism and business needs. That process will continue in 2008 as we improve our services and announce new routes. Through-connections from Australia to all African destinations as well as Europe, the US and South America are also being looked at.
“Since introducing e-ticketing, we have now achieved a 100% compliance rate for all SAA services and destinations.
“In Australia SAA has an outstanding team of people with new sales and marketing and administration staff in a number of locations including Queensland, Perth and Melbourne as well Sydney and New Zealand.
“And our fares are highly competitive, offering customers a range of cost-effective and flexible options to enable them to plan the trip of a lifetime. Our common-rated fares from Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide mean great value to Australians no matter where they live.
For more information on SAA flights and reservations please call 1300 435 972 or www.flysaa.com
“SAA last year celebrated 50 years flying the Wallaby Route. We’re here for the long haul and are looking forward to events like the Football World Cup in 2010 with huge excitement,” Thevan concluded