South African Airways (SAA) is the national flag carrier and largest airline of South Africa, with headquarters in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. Its hub is at OR Tambo International Airport. SAA owns Mango, a low cost domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express.
South African Airways was founded in 1934 after the acquisition of Union Airways by the South African government. The airline was initially overseen and controlled by South African Railways and Harbours Administration. It suffered imposed sanctions by African countries during apartheid, which forced it to adopt long-range aircraft and other measures to counter these restrictions. During this time, it was also known by its Afrikaans name, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL), which has been dropped. In 1997 a major overhaul programme, which involved a change of name, image and aircraft livery, as well as the introduction of online ticketing services, was carried out by the company"s board. The carrier has since joined airline alliance Star Alliance, and replaced its fleet with newer aircraft. In 2006, SAA split from Transnet, its parent company, to operate as an independent airline.
South African Airways flies to 38 destinations, including 30 international destinations in 26 countries in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia. Itâ€™s one of the few carriers to have services to all 6 inhabited continents. The airline has a strong presence in Southern Africa, while domestically it serves five cities.
Currently, the airlineâ€™s fleet consists of the following aircrafts: 11 Airbus A319, 2 Airbus A320-200, 6 Airbus A330-200, 1 Airbus A340-200, 8 Airbus A340-300, 9 Airbus A340-600 and 15 Boeing 737-800W. Its cargo fleet consists of 2 Boeing 737-200 and 2 Boeing 737-300.
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