South African Airways (SAA) the leading carrier on the African continent, has – in what is a significant achievement for the airline – strengthened its position in West Africa, with the upcoming introduction of a second West African country linking air travel to North America.
“This is a major development and achievement for the airline as part of our Long-Term Turnaround Strategy where we have set growth on the African continent as one of our key objectives. With a strong presence in West Africa, in the form of nonstop services between Accra and Washington D.C. and through our airline partnerships our customers will soon have access to further destinations in West Africa,” says Nico Bezuidenhout, South African Airways Acting CEO.
“SAA’s decision to route some of its North American bound flights to Ghana, is based on sound business principles as there is considerably demand for passengers wanting to fly from Ghana to the U.S. Directly connecting the two countries, now made possible with the granting of traffic rights by the Ghana government, will aid existing trade relations and further strengthen Ghana’s robust economic outlook and its imminent AGOA status,” says Kendy Phohleli, SAA Executive Africa Hub Projects.
Connecting Ghana to America is not the only outcome of this initiative, SAA has also formed a partnership with a domestic Ghanaian carrier, offering customers more travel options within the West African region.
“True to our promise of improving inter-connectivity on the continent, by actively pursuing Bilateral Air Service Agreements, SAA entered into a bi-lateral codeshare agreement with Africa World Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Ghana which operates domestic and regional flights in West Africa. Based at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the airline was recently awarded “Domestic Airline of the Year” in Ghana.
“This partnership will offer SAA customers from Washington and Johannesburg seamless connectivity via Accra to other destinations in Ghana such as Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale as well as to Lagos, Nigeria,” says Phohleli.
From Washington SAA offers convenient connections to and from over 50 markets in the U.S. and Canada through its airline partners United Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America.
The Accra Washington route has a multitude of advantages for travellers:
As current supply is limited, forcing the majority of customers in Ghana to travel via Europe to reach North America, SAA’s introduction of non-stop services from Ghana will considerably reduce travel times.
The route will be served by A340-600s featuring 42 full-flat 180° beds in Premium Business Class and 275 seats in Economy Class.
Travellers will be able to experience 4 Star Skytrax rated airline service to North America, which offers world-class quality, product and service standards. SAA has been awarded a 4-Star rating by Skytrax for 13 consecutive years.
SAA also plays a leadership role on the continent, and in aviation matters as a member of IATA (the International Air Transport Association), and AFRAA (the African Airlines Association), which brings together most of the major African airlines, promoting their common interests.
The airline is operationally strong and has a proud safety record and excellent on time performance. SAA also assists other African carriers, with training cabin crew and pilots on safety and provides technical support to fellow upcoming African airline operators.
SAA was the first Airline in Africa and is among the leaders in the world in implementing RNP-AR (Required Navigational Performance-Authorisation Required) technology which is an important step forward in safety and efficiency, also on the continent.
The role SAA plays in the environmental affairs was again recently highlighted when the airline was accepted as a member of the Swiss based Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), an international multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together those concerned with ensuring the sustainability of biomass and biomaterial production and processing. The RSB is currently certifying SAA’s Biofuels project, launched in 2014 as the first African biofuels project, where tobacco oil is to be transformed into jet fuel, in partnership with others. Earlier this year SAA became one of only two global carriers to achieve Stage 2 status of the IATA Environmental Assessment Programme (IEnvA).
SAA introduced flights between Johannesburg and Accra, Ghana more than two decades ago and operates daily flights.
Effective 2 August 2015 the schedule will be reconfigured as follows:
- Four of the weekly Accra flights (Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Sundays) will continue onwards to Washington on A340-600s aircraft
- Three of the weekly Accra flights (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) will continue onwards to Abidjan, Ivory Coast on A330-200 or A340-300 aircraft;
- Three of the current weekly flights to Washington (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) will continue operating from Johannesburg, via Dakar, Senegal on A340-300 or A330-200 aircraft.
News flight schedule effective 2 August:
|Flight||Day of the week||Depart||Arrive||Depart||Arrive|
|SA209||Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday||Johannesburg 17:25||Accra 21:45||Accra 22:45||Washington 0605 the next day|
|SA210||Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday||Washington 17:40||Accra 07:40||Accra 08:40||Johannesburg 16:30|
|SA052||Saturday||Johannesburg 16:55||Accra 21:15|
|SA053||Saturday||Accra 22:30||Johannesburg 06:20 the next day|
|SA056||Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday||Johannesburg 12:50||Accra 1710||Accra 18:10||Abidjan 19:10|
|SA057||Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday||Abidjan 20:10||Accra 21:25||Accra 22:30||Johannesburg 06:20 the next day|
*Schedule is subject to Ghana CAA government approval
About South African Airways (SAA)
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 56 destinations, in partnership with SA Express, SA Airlink and its low cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and nine intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; and Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA. SAA is the winner of the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for twelve consecutive years and the winner of ‘Service Excellence Africa’ for three years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on – time airlines.