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South African Airways

South African Airways
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South African Airways

Over the decades, South African Airways has evolved into one of the leading carriers in Africa. We offer the biggest route network in Africa and fly to more destinations, both overseas and within South Africa, than anyone else.


We are proud to be the national airline of South Africa, and are committed to the highest standards in everything we do. From our warm hospitality and luxury airport lounges to our in-flight menu created by renowned chefs, we deliver a world-class experience every time.



Airlink history

Airlink is a regional airline and privately owned business that operates as a franchisee of South African Airways (SAA). Airlink was placed on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Register in February 2008.


South African Airways
South African Airways

South African Airways mission

    We South African Airways are committed to providing seamless interline connections with our partner flights, linking smaller towns to major city hubs.

    We will work together with our alliance partners to realise our vision of an extensive network spanning many regional capitals, smaller communities and major centres.

We are determined to remain South Africa’s leading regional feeder airline, and aspire to be a role model in the industry.


 South African Airways fleet,


    Jetstream 41,

    Embraer 135,


    BAE146 RJ85,



 South African Airways destinations

Twenty-eight destinations in the SADC sub-region – offering more local destinations than any other airline.

Flights per month: 3500

SAA and the environment

SAA environmental statement

We can’t ignore our contribution to the greenhouse effect, or rewind the clock. The direct environmental impact of our activities comes from the CO2 emissions and noise generated by our air crafts.

It is our corporate responsibility to focus on what we can do to minimize our carbon footprint.

The result:

80% compliance for greener operations as stipulated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Ongoing discussions with the Operations Committee and aviation partner, Air Transport Navigational Services, on how to ensure fuel and carbon efficiency.

South African Airways Building a

green future

    Our fleet is among the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the skies.

    Investment in new technology ensures greater environmental protection.


South African Express Airways;

South African Express Airways information


Since taking to the skies in April 1994, South African Express Airways has become one of the fastest growing regional airlines in Africa, and forms part of the trusted South African Airways (SAA) alliance.


South African Airways profile

A regional airline with route networks covering major local and regional cities.

South African Express Airways plays a significant role in the country’s hospitality, travel and tourism industry.

SA Express Airways has recently become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Department of Public Enterprise.

South African Airways Benefits

The SAA Alliance partnership entitles customers to Voyager benefits. Flight schedules are coordinated amongst SAA Alliance airlines in order to provide a seamless service.  This alliance also enables us to provide hassle-free services in areas such as ticketing, check-in facilities, mutual branding and flight codes.


South African Airways Awards

Awards won by  South African Airways

Customers are guaranteed first-rate service; the following awards are testament to the exceptional efforts of our staff:


    The International Star Quality Award ,

    Top 500 Best Managed Companies ,


South African Airways

Executive management

The organizational structure of SA Express reflects its determination to be the most successful regional airline, and its mission to provide the best customer service whilst also optimizing profits. The compact management structure ensures continued attention to strategic objectives.


SA Express leadership is both experienced and passionate. The management team is accommodating and approachable and has high expectations for all SA Express employees. Personal development is achieved through engagement at all levels and we encourage our staff to participate and integrate as much as possible. We are extremely proud of our diverse workforce.


    Inati Ntshanga – Chief Executive Officer,

    Sikhumbuzo Zulu – Chief Financial Officer,

    Jerome Simelane – General Manager: Commercial,

    Arson Malola-Phiri – Regional General Manager: African Expansion,

    Dave Allanby – General Manager: Operations,

    Ramon Vahed – General Manager: Technical Maintenance and Engineering,

    Wesley Hermanus – General Manager: Human Resources,

    Jenean Green- Chief Information Officer,


South African Airways

route network

SA Express caters for both business and leisure travellers by offering flights to most destinations within South Africa and services between Botswana, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Click here to see our route network.

South African Airways fleet

Our airline has expanded its fleet; the latest acquisitions include two Q400 turbo-prop aircraft. The 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) and DeHavilland Dash 8-Series 300-turbo-prop aircraft are available on certain routes operated by the airline. These aircraft offer a new level of service with leather seating and superior design.


Short history of

South African Airways

Over 70 years of excellence and innovation have propelled South African Airways (SAA) to become Africa’s leading carrier. The following timeline features select highlights of our reputable history.


Brief history South African Airways

1930s history of South African Airways

The history of South African Airways dates back to 1 February 1934, when the South African government took over the assets and liabilities of Union Airways. The airline was renamed South African Airways (SAA), and fell under the control of the South African Railways and Harbour administration.

On 1 November 1934, SAA introduced Junkers Ju 52/3m, the first multi-engine aircraft, which was used on domestic flights. During the 30s, the airline steadily acquired more planes, including the first 10-seater Junkers Ju 86s, DC-3s, Constellation L-749As, Lockheed Lodestar, DC-7Bs Vickers Viscounts and the Boeing 707.

The outbreak of World War II resulted in SAA being divided into two wings: a defence wing controlled by the Department of Defence and a commercial wing controlled by the Administration. The entire fleet and 22% of its personnel were taken over by the Department of Defence.


     1940s history of South African Airways

On 24 May 1940, South African Airways became a military wing, and all commercial services were suspended until December 1944. The International Air Transport Association was founded in Havana in April 1945, and SAA became one of 44 active founding members,

SAA modernized in-flight service and entertainment by introducing air hostesses on domestic flights and a cinema on the direct service between Johannesburg and Cape Town.


1950s  history of South African Airways

The official opening of Jan Smuts International Airport was held in Kempton Park on 17 April 1952. The following year, SAA operated its first Comet Springbok service from London to Johannesburg using a BOAC Comet, and in the process became the first airline outside the UK to operate jet aircraft.

The SAA fleet continued to grow when the Minister of Transport announced his decision to order three Boeing Intercontinental jet aircraft for delivery in 1960.


1960s history of South African Airways

The 1960s brought a number of firsts. South African Airways extended its orange tail insignia across the entire fleet. In March 1967, we introduced our first weekly jet service between South Africa and Australia. The following year, we made an inaugural flight from Jan Smuts Airport to Rio de Janeiro using a Boeing 707.

1970s history of South African Airways

On 24 April 1976, South African Airways operated the world’s first commercial flight using a Boeing 747SP. The aircraft flew on the Johannesburg-Lisbon-Rome-Athens service,

The 70s welcomed new arrivals: our first Boeing 747B, ZS-SAN ‘Lebombo’ and Airbus ‘Blesbok’. At the same time, we sought to improve our traffic growth on domestic and regional routes by purchasing 12 Boeing 737s, three Boeing 747SPs and four Airbus A300s.

On 6 January 1977, the Boeing 747SP made its first scheduled flight between Johannesburg and Sydney. The flight offered in-flight audio entertainment and movies.

1980s history of South African Airways

In April 1981, South African Airways introduced a three-class service for an Australian flight: Blue Diamond First class, Gold class for Business passengers and Silver class for Economy class traveler.

Due to economic sanctions, flights to New York were suspended in November 1986. The USA withdrew from its landing rights in South Africa. The following year, the Australian government took the same action against South Africa.

1990s history of South African Airways

The 90s evoked a decade of positive change and renewed relationships. For the first time in 28 years, SAA flights operated via Sudan and Egypt. Economic sanctions against South Africa were lifted, and flights to New York and Australia resumed,

On 25 March 1994, South African Express Airways was granted a license to operate domestically, and South African Airways became a shareholder.

On board domestic flights, SAA introduced multi-lingual greetings in English, Zulu, Sotho and Afrikaans. On international flights, passengers were greeted in the relevant language of their destination.

SAA’s Cadet Pilot Training programme was launched to provide previously disadvantaged individuals an opportunity to become pilots. On 22 March 1997, SAA unveiled a new corporate identity with its aircraft tail designed to reflect the colours of South Africa’s new national flag: red, blue, gold, black and green.

South Africa signed a R1.4 billion deal, giving SAirGroup, the holding company of Swissair, a 20% stake in South African Airways.

2000s history of South African Airways

South African Airways embarked on an extensive fleet renewal program and appointed Airbus as its supplier. The airline placed a staggering order for 41 new aircraft with a price tag of US$3.5 billion – Africa’s biggest jetliner acquisition.

For a simpler, smarter and faster way to check in, SAA launched an online check-in system and a self check-in kiosk.

SAA signed a US$200 million deal with Rolls Royce to supply the airline’s nine A340-600s with Rolls Royce Trent 500 engines.

After an absence of more than 40 years, South Africa was reinstated as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Thereafter, we became a member of the global Star Alliance in April 2006, and with it came seamless worldwide air travel. In addition, we unveiled two Star Alliance branded aircraft – a 737-800 and Airbus A340-600 – as part of the global network’s requirements.

On 29 November 2007, we became the proud official carrier of the South African rugby team, the Springboks, as part of a sponsorship agreement between the airline and South African Rugby.

South African Airways Mission

To deliver sustainable profits and grow our market share through world- class service to our customers internally and externally.

SAA Vision

An African airline with global reach

SAA’s Core Business

Movement of people and goods by air

SAA’s Corporate Values

Customer Focused


Anticipating and striving to understand the unique needs of our customers (internal and external) through tailoring each interaction to their specific needs

South African Airways Accountability

Taking responsibility for individual and team actions, decisions and results by establishing clear plans and goals and measuring our progress against them, while discerning a deeper purpose in one’s everyday job

South African Airways Integrity

Practicing the highest standards of ethical behaviour in all our lines of work and maintaining credibility by making certain that our actions always match our words consistently

South African Airways  Safety

Adopting a zero defect mentality and striving for zero accidents through proper training, work practices, risk management and adherence to safety regulations at all times


South African Airways Excellence

in Performance

Setting goals beyond the best and reinforcing high quality performance standards and achieving excellence through implementing best practices

South African Airways Valuing our


Committing to satisfaction, development, and well-being, through treating them with respect, dignity and fairness

South African Airways Airline

Operating Certificate

Click here to download the South African Airways Airline Operating Certificate.

SAA awards

 South African Airways awards information

Over the years, South African Airways (SAA) has received various prestigious awards for service and innovation. These include “Best Airline in Africa” at the skytrax awards. Each award drives us to enhance the SAA experience for our guests. Since 2001, we have been proud to receive the following awards and titles:



Award Presenter


2010SAA CargoAir Cargo NewsBest African Cargo Airline
2009SAAWorld Travel AwardsAfrica’s Leading Airline
SAASunday Times Top Brands AwardsBest Domestic Airline (Business to Consumer)
SAATravel Weekly Globe AwardsBest Scheduled Airline in Africa
SAASkytrax Customer Satisfaction SurveyBest Airline in Africa
CargoAir Cargo MagazineBest African Air Cargo
SAAWorld Travel AwardsAfrica’s Leading Airline
SAAAfrica’s Annual Travel and Tourism ExhibitionBest Airline Stand at Indaba
SAASunday Times/Generation NextCoolest Domestic Airline Brand
2008SAACBC African Business AwardsAirline of the Year
SAAWorld Travel AwardsAfrica’s Leading Airline
SAA CargoAir Cargo WorldAir Cargo Award of Excellence
SAA CargoAir Cargo NewsBest African Cargo Airline
SAAWeekly Globe AwardsBest Airline to Africa (17th consecutive year)
SAAOAGBest Airline Based in Africa (10th consecutive year)
SAATelegraph Ultra (UK)Best African Airline
2007SAA CorporateWeekly Globe AwardsBest Scheduled Airline to Africa
SAA VoyagerRazor’s Edge Business Intelligence AwardsBest Stand Alone Highest Value Credit Card
SAA CorporateASATABest Online International Airline
SAA CorporateASATABest African Airline
SAA CorporateSkytraxBest Airline in Africa – YC Service
SAA CorporateSkytraxBest Airline in Africa – PC Service
SAA CorporateSkytraxTop Ten Global Rankings – YC Service
SAA CorporateOAG Airline of the Year AwardsBest Airline Based in Africa
SAA CorporateSkytraxTop Ten Global Rankings – PC Service
SAA14th World Travel Awards for AfricaAfrica’s Leading Airline
SAA14th World Travel Awards for AfricaAfrica’s Leading FC Product
SAA14th World Travel Awards for AfricaAfrica’s Leading PC Product
SAA14th World Travel Awards for AfricaAfrica’s Leading Website
SAA VoyagerRazor’s Edge Business Intelligence 7 Best Loyalty Programme Survey AwardBest FFP
SAA CorporateStar Consumer/readers ‘Your Choice 2007’ AwardBest Airline
SAA CorporateMarkinor SA Top BrandsBest Domestic Airline: 4th year
SAA CorporateBusiness Traveller AwardBest African Airline
SAA CorporateDanish Travel Awards3rd place for Best Intercontinental Airline
2006SAA CorporateTravel Weekly Globe AwardsBest Airline to Africa from the UK (15th consecutive year)
SAA CorporateGlobal Traveler AwardsBest Airline to Africa
SAA CorporateBusiness Travel Magazine – annual best in class awardsBest Business Class Service to Africa
SAA CorporateASATA/Diners AwardBest African Airline
SAA CorporateASATA/Diners AwardBest International Airline
SAA CorporateSkytraxBest Premium Flat Bed Seat in the World
SAA CorporateSkytraxBest Airline in Africa
SAA CorporateOAG Airline of the Year AwardsBest Airline Based in Africa (6th consecutive year)
SAA CorporateSkytrax customer surveyBest Long Haul Business Class (2nd position)
SAA CorporateSkytrax customer surveyPC Lounge ranks 5th in the World
SAA CorporateSkytrax customer surveyFC Lounges rank 4th in World
SAA CorporateSkytrax customer surveyBest Cabin Crew in Africa
SAA CorporateMarkinor SA Top BrandsBest Domestic Airline (2nd year)
SAA CorporateWorld Travel AwardsAfrica’s Leading Airline
SAA CorporateWorld Travel AwardsAfrica’s Leading First Class Airline
SAA CorporateWorld Travel AwardsAfrica’s Leading Business Class Airline
SAA CorporateFrost & SullivanFleet Development Award for African Carrier
2005SAA CorporateTravel Weekly Globe AwardsBest Airline to Africa
SAA CorporateTravel Channel surveyBest Airline Service On Board & On the Ground Long Haul Routes (2nd place)
SAA CorporatePMRCompany that Contributed Most the Economic Growth and Development of the Province
SAA CorporateACSAGolden Feather Awards
SAA CorporateDiners Club ASATA AwardsBest African Airline
SAA CorporateSkytrax1st Best Airline in Africa
SAA CorporateSkytrax1st Best Cabin Staff in Africa
SAA CorporateSkytrax2nd Best Business Class Service in the World
SAA CorporateSkytrax3rd Best FC Lounges Globally
SAA CorporateSkytrax3rd Best Airline Middle East/Africa
SAA LHR Call CentreSkytrax1st in the BPA Competitive Review for Best Performing Reservations Centre
2004SAA BrazilBest Airline to Africa
SAA CorporateASATADiners Club ASATA Awards African Airline
SAA Direct Channels E-commerceASATADiners Club ASATA Awards International Online Airline
SAA CorporateSkytraxAirline of the Year Africa
SAA BrazilBrazil Travel NewsBest International Airline – The 10 Best of Tourism
SAA CorporateIndabaBest Airline Stand
SAA CorporateSkytraxFinalist in Service Excellence Award
SAA CorporateSaturday Star Orchid Award Best Ad Award from Brendan SeeryBest SA 10th Anniversary Advert
SAA CorporateSkytraxSAA First Class ranks 6th globally
SAA CorporateSkytraxSAA FC Curbside Check-in ranks 2nd globally. SAA FC Lounges ranks 4th globally
SAA CorporateSkytraxBest Cabin Service in Africa
SAA CorporateSkytraxBest Flat Bed Seat in the World
SAA CorporateSouth African GovernmentAward for Women in Development
SAA CorporateBest of Johannesburg 2004 ReadersBest Airline (Domestic)
SAAMarkinor/Sunday TimesBest Brand – Domestic Airline
SAASelling Long Haul Travel AwardsBest Airline to Southern & Central Africa
SAA East LondonBorder TechnikonOutstanding Contribution to Co-operative Education
SAA CorporateAsk Africa Public Trust BarometerThe Most Trusted Company
SAA CIAACSA – Feather AwardsBest International Airline in Cape Town
SAA CorporateSkytrax 2004/2005 AwardsFC Lounges ranked no. 2 in the world
SAA Zimbabwe OfficeFoundation for Excellence Practice, Geneva, SwitzerlandGold Medal
SAA CorporateFirst non-Saudi Airline to Fly into Madinah
2003SAATravel Weekly Globe AwardsBest Airline to Africa
SAAASATABest African Airline
SAAASATABest Domestic Airline
SAAASATABest International Airline Flying to South Africa
SAASkytraxBest Airline in Africa
SAASkytraxBest Cabin Crew in Africa
SAAIndabaBest Airline Stand 2003
SAAOAG Airline of the Year AwardsBest Airline Based in Africa
SAASkytrax First Class RankingsFirst Class Home-base Check-in ranked 1st
SAAConde Naste Top 10 Trans Atlantic AirlinesRanked No. 7
2002SAABusiness Traveller (USA)Best to Fly Business Class to Africa
SAASkytraxBest Airline in Africa
SAASkytraxBest Cabin Crew in Africa
SAA/SawubonaAdvantage AdMagBest In-flight Magazine
SAAAssociation of British Travel AgentsMost Outstanding African Airline
SAADiners Club/ASATABest African Airline
SAADiners Club/ASATABest International Online Airline
SAAOAG Airline of the Year AwardsBest Airline Based in Africa
SAADurban Tourism IndabaBest Airline Stand
SAAUK Travel Trade Magazine ‘Selling Long Haul’Best Airline to Africa
SAATanzania Society of Travel AgentsBest Airline in Africa
SAAWorld Online Entertainment AssociationFirst Runner-up for Best Single In-flight Audio Programme
2001CargoAir Cargo NewsBest Cargo Airline
SAASkytraxBest Airline in Africa
SAASkytraxBest Airline in South Africa
SAASkytraxBest Cabin Crew in Africa
Flight DespatchSITA Flight OperationsCustomer Loyalty Award
Marketing & CommunicationStar – Orchard AwardBest Advert of the Week
SAA/SawubonaAdvantage AdMag AwardsBest In-flight Magazine
ProductExcellence Cast in StoneTraining Video on SAA Corporate Image & Uniform Collection
SAATravel Weekly Globe AwardsBest Airline to Africa


SAA leadership

SAA leadership information

SAA’s dynamic leadership team is led by Chaiman and Acting CEO Vuyisile Kona, under the guidance of the airline’s esteemed Board of Directors. The leadership team sets to fulfill SAA’s strategic goals, ensuring that the airline grows into a sustainable, world class airline.

Name Position
Vuyisile KonaChaiman and Acting Chief Executive Officer
Sandile DlaminiCompany Secretary
Thuli MpsheGeneral Manager: Human Resources
Tlali TlaliHead Group Corporate Affairs
Jerome SimelaneGeneral Manager: Commercial (Acting)
Wolfgang MeyerChief Financial Officer
Pieter SnymanChief Information Officer
Fikile ThabetheGeneral Manager:Legal,Risk & Compliance(Acting)
Musa ZwaneChief Executive Officer: SAA Technical
Alison CrooksChief Executive Officer: Airchefs
Nico BezuidenhoutChief Executive Officer: Mango
Bulelwa KoyanaChief Executive Officer: SATC
Tleli MakhethaGeneral Manager SAA Cargo
Barry ParsonsExecutive in the CEO’s Office,
Strategy & Project Management Office
Siyakhula VilakaziChief Audit Executive


Star Alliance Conventions ,

 South African Airways,

Star Alliance Conventions Plus

Conventions Plus is a Star Alliance service that helps make organizing and attending international conferences easier. That’s because we offer access to member airlines’ schedules and discounted fares in one handy place. So, no matter where you are, or where you’re going, getting there is simple.


South African Airways as Organizer

Register with Conventions Plus and we’ll organize your delegates’ travel for you.

As an international conference organizer, you know how complicated it can be to arrange travel for delegates across different countries, airlines and time zones.

We can make your life less complicated.

Once you register your event with Star Alliance Conventions Plus, you can relax a little because we’ll give you one point of contact to help organize all your delegates’ travel plans, no matter where they’re from.

We will open your travel account for the official event activities ahead of your event and provide you with promotional materials so you can make sure all your delegates know all the details.

To give our registered organizers the best service possible, we ask that your convention meets the following criteria:

  • A minimum 500 number of international delegates expected to attend
  • Delegates attending from at least three countries and two continents
  • A minimum of six months’ lead time to the start date
  • A maximum of three year’s lead time to the start date
  • Types of events covered: conventions/ conferences/ exhibitions/
    sport & music events**must meet certain requirements
    Special procedures apply for Japan and New Zealand

South African Airways as Delegate

As a Convention Plus delegate, you can access the flight schedules of 27 airlines across the world in one place:  Here with 1,167 airport destinations and more that 990 lounges in 181 countries at your fingertips, researching your options is fast and easy.

What’s more, your conference organizer has secured preferred rates for all delegates – simply quote the conventions code they provide you with. You’ll also have access to the Star Alliance Travel Information and downloadable Tools.

When you travel Business Class with a Star Alliance member airline, you’ll have access to airport lounges as you make your way to your conference. And if you’re a Star Alliance Gold member, you and a guest can access the lounge no matter what class you travel – as long as your ticket is with one of our member airlines.

South African Airways

Customer Services

About South African Airways Customer Services

South African Airways strives to inspire our customers with African hospitality in every detail, every time. Commitment to our passengers is key to our brand and we strive to get it right, first time, every time. Contact us should you have any customer care related queries.

South African Airways Contact

We are committed to deliver a service of excellent standard…

Your comments are of the utmost importance to us to monitor our performance. We therefore would like to invite you to write to us!
Customer Services

South African Airways

Email Address:
Or give us a call:
Tel: 27 11 978 2888 or 0860 003 146 (Share Call)
Fax: 27 11 978 9567
Office Hours: Mon – Fri: 08:00 – 16:30 (GMT)
Closed weekends & South African Public Holidays

South African Airways Reservations

Email Address:
Or give us a call:
Tel :27 (0)11 978 1111 or 0861 606 607 (Share Call)
Office Hours :  24 Hours
South African Airways Voyager 
Email Address :
Or give us a call:
Tel: 27 (0)11 978 1234
Office Hours :  Weekdays, 07h00 to 21h00 (GMT)
Saturdays, Sundays & South African Public Holidays, 08:00 – 14:00

South African Airways Baggage Service (Lost/damaged)

Email Address : Or give us a call:
Tel: 27 (0)11 978 3733
Office Hours: Daily, 07h00 to 19h00 (GMT)

South African Airways Refunds

Email Address:
Or give us a call :
Tel: 27 (0)11 978 1786
Office Hours : Weekdays, 08h00 to 16h30 (GMT),
Closed weekends & South African Public Holidays


South African Airways Cargo

Or give us a call:
Tel: 27 (0)11 978 3366
Office Hours: Weekdays, 08h00 to 19h00 (GMT), excluding South African Public Holidays
Saturdays & Sundays 07:00 – 13:00
Closed South African Public Holidays

South African Airways Website Queries

South African Airways Contact –

For US Travelers

If your journey originates in the United States, please use the contact information below to give us feedback and share your concerns…

South African Airways
Attn. Customer Care
1200 S Pine Island Rd, Suite 650
Plantation, FL 33324

Phone: +1-954-769-5023
Fax: +1-954-769-5069

Hours: Monday-Friday 08:30-16:30 ET

You may also share comments about our services with the U.S. Department of Transportation, as follows:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590


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