South African Airways

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South African Airways (SAA) (Afrikaans: Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens), is the national flag carrier and largest airline of Republic of South Africa, with headquarters in Airways Park on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. The airline flies to 36 destinations worldwide from its hub at OR Tambo International Airport, using a fleet of 59 aircraft. The airline is headed by CEO Siza Mzimela and CFO Kaushik Patel.

South African Airways was founded in 1934 after the acquistion 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 Africa countries during apartheid, which forced it to adopt long-range aircraft and other measures to counter these restrictions. During this time, it was known by its Afrikaans name, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL), which has been dropped.

In 1997 a major overhaul programme, which involved changing 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. SAA owns Mango, a domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express. The airline is ranked as a 4-star airline by the independent research consultancy firm Skytrax.[5] In 2006, SAA split from Transnet, its parent company, operating as an independent airline.


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