South African Airways Celebrates 83 Years in the Sky

February 7, 2017

South African Airways (SAA), the flag carrier of South Africa, is celebrating 83 years of providing air transport services to the South African people and to the world.

South African Airways is one of the oldest airlines not only in Africa but in the whole world, having been established on 1 February 1934 following the acquisition of Union Airways by the South African government.


With just forty members of staff and a handful of aircraft at launch and only 3,000 passengers in its first year of operation, the SAA Group has evolved beyond all recognition and now transports more than 9 million passengers and 114 000 tonnes of freight per year.


SAA connects South Africa to all of its major trade and tourism partners and, in doing so, supports 34 000 jobs within the country and contributes R9,2 billion – approximately 0.3% of the national GDP every year.

With a fleet of 57 aircraft, SAA is also one of the leading carriers in Africa, serving 74 destinations in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and SAA’s low-cost carrier, Mango.


The partnership serves the entire continent and nine intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub. This caters for more than half of the African Union states - to 27 destinations in 23 countries in Africa.

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