Monday, 23 March 2015

SAA Celebrates 50 Years of Direct Flights between South Africa and Mauritius; Frequency Increases Driven by Demand-Side Growth

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Summary: South Africa has been flying direct to Mauritius for 50 years. Read about the history on how this half-a-century flight route began.  

Johannesburg, 22 January 2015: This year, South African Airways (SAA)celebrates a half-century of direct flights between Johannesburg and Mauritius. The airline presently operates daily flights on the route with a recent 9% increase in frequency resulting in twice-daily operations on Thursdays with double flights on Saturdays and Sundays. The route was one of SAA’s first Indian Ocean island destinations and has shown sustained growth over the past fifty years.  

The airline first introduced flights between Johannesburg and the Indian Ocean Island in 1957 as a refuelling stop en-route to Perth, with direct end-point flights commencing eight years later.  “Mauritius has remained an important destination for SAA throughout its history,” says SAA Acting CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout. “Recent frequency additions on several key African routes, including Mauritius, hold strategic commercial value for the business and forms part of the impetus of the LTTS (Long-Term Turnaround Strategy). Mauritius remains one of the fastest growing economies on the continent with consistent demand-side growth in both business and leisure travel.”  

Load factors on the route continue to perform positively, with growing trade and economic development driving business travel outside of seasonal leisure trips. Mauritius has enjoyed consistent GDP growth at an aggregate of 5,9% since 1995. “There has been a marked increase in inbound directional travel from the island to Johannesburg, too,” says Bezuidenhout, “with Johannesburg serving as hub and entry point into other African, American and European destinations.” SAA serves as patron to the South African Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius to further advance its business community engagement.  

It all started on 25 November 1957 when SAA, in partnership with Qantas, introduced a fortnightly DC-7B service across the Indian Ocean from Johannesburg to Perth; stopping at Mauritius and the Cocos Islands. This flight took 25 hours and was known as the “Wallaby Service”. On 7 May 1965, the SAA DC-7B service to Australia via Mauritius was increased to a weekly service. The DC aircraft was retired from the SAA fleet in 1967 and Mauritius became an online station as from 1965.  

On 29 March 1967, SAA started operating the B707 to Australia via Mauritius only. The Cocos Islands stop was removed and on 17 May 1967, the Boeing 707 aircraft set up a new record for the flight between Mauritius and Perth, covering 3,740 miles in just 5 hours and 32 minutes.   The Mauritius route is now served by the Airbus A320, the latest arrival in the SAA fleet.    

About South African Airways (SAA)
South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 57 destinations, in partnership with SA Express, SA Airlink and its low cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and ten 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.  

Issued by SAA Communications  
For more information contact: Tlali Tlali This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +27 82 333 3880  

South African Airways is a Star Alliance member that offers flights to 38 destinations worldwide. Domestically, SAA operates 544 flights a week between Johannesburg – Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. Regionally SAA offers 24 destinations across the African continent and its international network creates links to all major continents from South Africa through 10 direct routes. In the regional category, SAA has received the Skytrax ‘Best Airline in Africa’ Award for 11 consecutive years.