When South African Airways flight SA166 touched down at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday morning, it was not only for the first time since the national carrier was founded more than 60 years ago, but this confirmed our commitment to become a major continental and international player by establishing new routes and forming partnerships in the rest of Africa.
The new service also strengthens relations between South Africa and Ethiopia and its capital, Addis Ababa, the home of the outgoing Organisations of African Unity (OAU) and the incoming African Union (AU).
The introduction of SAAÁ?s first ever service to Ethiopia demonstrates SAAÁ?s support for New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD) which argues that Africa must increasingly look to its own resources and prepare itself to participate in the globalisation process. Nepad also encourages African governments to create a climate that is conducive to participation in the global rollout or get left behind
SAA will operate a direct service from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa twice a week, Wednesdays and Sundays and from Addis Ababa on Mondays and Thursdays. Apart from Ethiopia Airlines, SAA is the only other airline to offer direct service from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa.
To stimulate tourism and help economic development in our continent, we will work with tourism authorities and forge closer ties with other role players in Ethiopia.
Africa is the key market for SAA, which has more flights to African destinations than any other carrier. In our Á¤Networking Africa,Á¬ strategy, SAA envisages close collaboration with a select number of African airlines. In partnership with SA Airlink and SA Express, SAA services over 20 African destinations.
As the largest carrier in Africa, SAA is working hard to become a leading continental player. No wonder we have been consistently voted the best airline in Africa.
Some of the most recent awards are: ?h Best Airline to Africa by the South African Travel Agents` Association ?h Best Airline to Africa by the British Travel Agents ?h The Most Outstanding African Airline 2001 ?h The Best Airline in Africa with the Best Cabin Crew in Africa from Skytrax ?h The Best to Fly Business Class to Africa by the US Magazine Business Traveller ?h The Best Airline to Africa by Travel Weekly Globe awards for the 11th conservative year.