SAA is to commence flights to a second entry point in Nigeria in January 2016, namely the capital of Abuja.
Adding a second gateway to the existing daily service to Lagos materially strengthens SAA’s position in West Africa, and follows closely on the introduction of the Accra, Ghana to Washington Dulles, USA route, in August 2015.
“A second entry point in Nigeria forms part of our Long-Term Turnaround Strategy, which identified growth on the African continent as one of its key objectives. Nigeria is one of the fastest growing air travel markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and will be well served with our additional services to Abuja, says Sylvain Bosc, SAA Chief Commercial Officer.
“Enhancing air travel links with Nigeria speaks to the growth in bilateral relations between South Africa and Nigeria. The two countries historically have had strong economic, diplomatic, social and fraternal ties. These are the two economic powerhouses of Africa, with much more to offer and share,” says Aaron Munetsi, SAA Regional General Manager for Africa.
Abuja flights have been scheduled for seamless connectivity into SAA’s inter-continental route network to destinations such as Perth, Hong Kong and Sao Paulo. These connections will make it easy for regional traders, leisure travellers, travellers visiting friends and relatives, diplomatic communities, and international organisations from the northern and central parts of Nigeria to seamlessly connect through O.R Tambo International airport onwards to the airline’s inter-continental and regional route network.
Abuja, built in the 1980s, became Nigeria’s capital in December 1991. Located in the centre of Nigeria, within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it is the Nigerian seat of government where the Presidency, National Assembly, Supreme Court, and Embassies of most countries are situated. A business city housing many government employees, Abuja has also become popular for the serene and beautiful landscape it offers.
With Abuja, SAA will be serving eight destinations in Central and West Africa, with flights from its Johannesburg hub to Lagos (Nigeria); Abidjan (Ivory Coast); Cotonou (Benin); Accra (Ghana); Douala (Cameroon), Dakar (Senegal) and Libreville (Gabon) already forming part of the extensive regional route network.
The three weekly flights will operate non-stop between Johannesburg and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja aboard Airbus 330-200s, offering SAA Business class comfort and luxury, with the latest in In-flight entertainment.
The first flight is scheduled to depart O.R Tambo International Airport on 26 January 2016. Flights are open for sale on all SAA’s distribution channels. SA80 will depart Johannesburg on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 23h00 to arrive at 04h10 the following day. SA81 will depart Abuja on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 08h40, arriving 15h40.