SAA Needs Upgraded Fleet to Compete Outside Africa, CEO Says

South African Airways will need a more modern fleet to be competitive on routes outside its home continent following the Covid-19 crisis, according to interim Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kgokolo, Bloomberg News reported. The state-owned airline used to generate revenue on trips to cities such as London and Frankfurt, but its aging Airbus SE planes have prohibitive operating costs, he said in a panel discussion on Wednesday. “If we get the right fleet for those particular trips we should be able to minimize costs and become competitive,” Kgokolo said. SAA is set to restart operations next week after emerging from bankruptcy proceedings, about 18 months after the fleet was grounded at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Flights are set to operate from Johannesburg to Cape Town, plus African capitals Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. The carrier sees high demand on routes to cities elsewhere on the continent, Kgokolo said, as fewer competitors operate those trips. Early booking figures indicate planes may be as much as 75% full, he said. Routes anywhere else will be complicated by ongoing travel restrictions. Read more.