South African Airways (SAA) is celebrating its 80th year of service.
Founded in 1934, the carrier marked its anniversary this month (February). Over its eight decades of operation, SAA has faced many changes over and experienced many highlights and some turbulent times. Through the years, SAA, and its employees have shown extraordinary resilience and capacity for change.
Today, SAA is a modern, technologically advanced airline that flies millions of people every year. SAA has been an award winning airline over the years and recently received, for the 12th consecutive year in a row the 4-Star airline ranking, from Skytrax. SAA also remains the only carrier on the African continent to achieve this high level 4-Star Airline rating.
The airline’s outstanding safety record and on-time performance remain key drivers for customers choosing to fly with SAA.
In 2014, the SAA Group is also celebrating a number of achievements. Its frequent flyer program — Voyager — was one of the first ever frequent flyer program in Africa and is marking its 20th anniversary this month. SAA’s low cost operator, Mango, will turn eight later this year.
And SAA is set for a return to profitability with its Long-Term Turnaround Strategy, Gaining Altitude, in place which sets a long-term view for returning the airline to profitability. The strategy sets five strategic objectives which are:
!!! Support for South Africa’s national developmental agenda.
!!! To achieve and maintain commercial sustainability.
!!! Provide excellent customer service.
!!! Achieve consistent, efficient and effective operations.
!!! Foster performance excellence.
The Gaining Altitude strategy is well into its implementation phase and specific milestones have been reached. Loss making routes such as Bujumbura and Kigali have been closed, with the route to Buenos Aires to be closed at the end of March.
Last year alone SAA implemented five new codeshare agreements which is a considerable boost to the SAA route network without operating its own aircraft on those routes.