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Spreading its wings: SAA adds Lagos to African route network

Spreading its wings: SAA adds Lagos to African route network

South African Airways (SAA) will be adding another destination to its thinned-down route network in the coming weeks.

South African Airways adds a new destination to its route network. Image ; AFP PHOTO/Ben Stansall (Photo by BEN STANSALL / AFP)

South Africa’s relaunched national carrier SAA is set to start up flights to Lagos, in Nigeria, from 12 December. This is in addition to Mauritus flight, which will launch on 21 November.

In a recent interview with Michael Avery of Business Talk, SAA’s interim executive of commercial operations Simon Newton-Smith said that the airline is cautiously expanding its route network in such a way that it can operate sustainably and cover its costs.

“We are smaller than we were but we are planning to build back stronger, but sensibly,” Newton-Smith said.


South African Airways has been the country’s flag carrier since the 1930s and operated a fleet of large commercial passenger jets prior to the business rescue process which began before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The restructured airline is a smaller company with a reduced workforce, a smaller fleet and a route network that has shrunk significantly.

“We have a smaller team, a smaller fleet and smaller network by design. SAA is meant to look different. Our intention is that we are largely right sized for the business. We are taking a cautious approach to new routes and capacity,” he said.



South African Airways is carefully growing its route network so that it operates responsibly and no longer depends on the state for financial bailouts. The national carrier is using data to guide it, in its route expansion strategy.

“We are carefully using data to ensure that we add capacity where there is demand, where there is an opportunity to offer market fares and to cover our costs, and we will continue to do that until there is some normality,“ he added.


From 12 December, SAA will add another important African destination to its route network. Three flights a week will be offered to Lagos in Nigeria. According to News24, SAA has operated flights to Nigeria for the past 23 years.

“We are delighted that we are again able to resume operations, providing a link between Africa’s two biggest economies,” SAA interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said in a statement.



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