South African Airways (SAA), has exciting news for travel enthusiasts as it announces its highly anticipated return of intercontinental flights since it returned to the skies. And the chosen destination is São Paulo.
The company will resume service to São Paulo/Guarulhos (GRU), Brazil, marking its first intercontinental route since resuming operations in September 2021. This milestone comes after the South African government sold its 51% stake to the Takatso Consortium, signaling a new era for the airline.
SAA’s interim CEO, John Lamola, expressed delight in making São Paulo the chosen destination for their international relaunch. “We are delighted to announce that São Paulo is our first international destination since the airline successfully emerged from an intensive commercial rescue process and the Covid-19 lockdown,” Lamola declared.
Flights to São Paulo from both Johannesburg and Cape Town are set to begin later this year. Bookings and sales are starting today, 29th June 2023, with launch flights departing Cape Town on Tuesday 31st October and Johannesburg on Monday 6th November 2023.
From Johannesburg, SAA will offer two weekly flights. The outbound flight SA 222 will depart Johannesburg/OR Tambo (JNB) at 11:20 am and arrive in São Paulo/Guarulhos (GRU) at 4:15 pm on Mondays and Thursdays. The return flight SA 223 will leave São Paulo at 5:45 pm and touch down in Johannesburg at 7:45 am, also on Mondays and Thursdays.
From Cape Town, SAA will operate two weekly flights starting on October 31, 2023. Flight SA 226 will depart Cape Town (CPT) at 12:55 pm and arrive in São Paulo at 4:35 pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The return flight SA 227 will leave São Paulo at 6:05 pm and land in Cape Town at 6:40 am, again on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Cape Town, known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, is South Africa’s main tourist destination and an essential hub for commerce and business. With iconic landmarks such as Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town promises an unforgettable experience for travelers.
SAA’s Commercial Director, Mr. Tebogo Tsimane, expressed excitement about the new route, stating, “We have created an effective schedule that is ideal for both business and leisure travelers, and our schedule is fantastic for connecting traffic.” The company aims to offer a seamless travel experience, catering to the needs of both business and leisure passengers.
The company will compete with LATAM, which will restart its operations on September 2 with three weekly flights using Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
As the airline embarks on this new chapter, it plans to establish a dual hub model for its international operations, offering long-haul services from both Johannesburg (JNB) and Cape Town (CPT). Alongside São Paulo, SAA intends to operate flights to New York (JFK), United States, and at least one Australian city (Sydney and/or Perth) from Cape Town. From Johannesburg, the airline will serve destinations such as New York, Perth, São Paulo, London, and Frankfurt.
While the specific aircraft model for the Brazil routes has not been announced, SAA’s fleet has undergone restructuring, resulting in a reduced number of aircraft. The airline currently operates five Airbus A320ceo, one Airbus A330-300, and one Airbus A340-300. However, SAA has recently received approval from the South African government to acquire five Airbus A320s and one additional A330, which will be available for service from September 2023.