SAA reviews JNB as gateway to Cape Town, Durban

SAA has been forced to review its Johannesburg hub model as it had not anticipated the number of airline competitors bypassing JNB and flying directly to Cape Town and Durban, CEO Vuyani Jarana has told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance.

He made the remark while presenting SAA’s third quarter 2018 financial report to SCOF on March 27. Speaking in the context of “negative market dynamics not anticipated”, he said SAA’s JNB hub strategy was under review because of additional competitor capacity bypassing JNB. He said SAA had not expected Cape Town as a market for air travellers to reach such critical mass and therefore Cape Town could no longer be ignored. “We need to find ways of adding it to our network plan,” he said.

In the past, SAA flew directly from Cape Town to London, Munich and Atlanta, but over the years cancelled all direct international flights in line with its strategy to build its Johannesburg hub.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said Jarana was “spot on”.

“Two and a half years ago we launched Cape Town Air Access, a collaborative project to land more flights at Cape Town International together with Acsa, SAT, Western Cape Provincial Government, the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism. In that time we have landed 13 new non-stop flights and helped 15 flights expand. This has happened because of the growing appeal of Cape Town as a business hub for Africa and a tourist destination - and also because consumers are increasingly demanding point-to-point flights direct to destinations like Cape Town, rather than via traditional hubs like OR Tambo International.”

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