In a sign of confidence in the African airline industry, SAA has become the first airline in Africa to join Star Alliance—the world’s biggest global Airline group, SABC television reported on Sunday. Several chief executives of international airlines paid a visit to President Thabo Mbeki at the presidential guest house in a Pretoria Hotel ahead of Monday’s launch.
The SABC called the group influential players in the aviation industry and said they represented 17 of the leading airlines, including Lufthansa, Thai Airways and Swiss.
SAA spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan said the “Star Alliance opens up the world to SAA customers with 15,000 daily flights to over 852 destinations in over 140 countries. This really is an opportunity for SAA to open up the world to Africa”.
The prestige membership is a feather in the national carrier’s cap.
The Star Alliance processes 425 million passengers annually.
One of the CE’s United Airlines’ Glen Tilton said “It says we recognise that SAA has developed and we recognise that SAA is one of the sophisticated airlines in the world.”
From Monday, frequent SAA users will be eligible to redeem and earn flier mile points for flights on any of the Alliance’s international airlines.