South African Airways (SAA) has officially confirmed its first intercontinental connections since the Covid lockdowns and its business rescue. The airline announced it would launch two direct routes to Brazil’s financial hub, São Paulo, from Cape Town and Johannesburg in October and November as reported by Money Web.
SAA, which is on the verge of being taken over by the Takatso Consortium, stated that flight ticket sales have already begun. The decision to introduce routes to São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, was a surprise, mainly because Cape Town will have its first SAA international route in several years.
The last international flights operated by SAA from Cape Town were in 2012 on the Cape Town-London route. Deon Cloete, former general manager of Cape Town International Airport, confirmed that this would be the first scheduled SAA route from Cape Town to São Paulo and a South American city.
SAA expressed its excitement about the new intercontinental route, emphasising that it is the airline’s first long-haul route since resuming operations in 2021. The announcement coincides with South Africa hosting the Brics Summit in August.
Bookings for the new routes opened on June 29, with the inaugural flights scheduled for October 31 from Cape Town and November 6 from Johannesburg.
SAA will operate flights to Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo four times a week, starting in the third quarter of the 2023/24 financial year. The airline has appointed Air Promotion Group (APG) in Brazil as its General Sales Agent (GSA).
The decision to relaunch long-haul service with São Paulo was based on a thorough analysis of the route’s viability, with sustainability being a core focus for SAA. The airline aims to provide South African hospitality and award-winning customer service to travellers on the São Paulo route.
The announcement was welcomed by South African Tourism’s acting CEO, who recognised its significance for the tourism sector’s recovery ambitions. SAA’s decision to connect Brazil and South Africa addresses the airlift challenge and opens up opportunities for visitors and business travellers.
São Paulo, known as one of the world’s major financial hubs, offers a diverse range of attractions, including museums, cultural centres, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants.
SAA’s interim board chair reaffirmed the airline’s expansion plans and profitability goals. The airline is reportedly considering re-establishing a route to Perth, Australia, and has already resumed several key regional routes within Africa.
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