Our World: SAA celebrates 20 years of direct flights to Nigeria


The leading carrier in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, South African Airways (SAA), is celebrating 20 years of non-stop operations between Johannesburg and Africa’s most populous city, Lagos, Nigeria.

Operations commenced on 4 December 1998 as SAA launched its first flight into Nigeria soon after the Bilateral Air Service Agreement between the two countries had been signed.  SAA has since brought several aircraft onto this route, from the initial Airbus 300 series, which had to make a technical stop en-route in Luanda to the Boeing 767 and the B747-400 and to the Airbus A340–600, which was then replaced by the current state of the art Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

SAA operates a daily service to Murtalla Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, consistently delivering exceptional turnaround times and excellent facilities including state of the art on-demand inflight entertainment system, increased economy and business class space and legroom for extra comfort.

The Nigeria operations rank amongst SAA’s most profitable and we want to continue to support this important destination by continuously improving the overall customer experience and exploring new opportunities. This will enable us to retain our market position as the carrier of choice amongst the Nigerian travelling community. Our understanding of our customer profiles who travel in both business and economy class cabins, is one of the reasons we decided to deploy the A330-300 aircraft which responds well to the needs of this market,” said Pumla Luhabe, SAA General Manager Commercial.

With its thriving economy, Nigeria is Africa’s economic powerhouse; Lagos is a high-energy city famous for its vibrant lifestyle, set against the backdrop of the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, and their world renowned music industry bolstered by heavyweights such as the late legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti to the modern day Davido, DBanj, and Psquare to mention a few. Nigeria offers numerous commercial opportunities and a cultural experience like no other.

Nigeria is among the top destinations to which we fly, and over the past 20 years SAA has transported over three (3) million passengers into the region and we will continue to listen to our customers to ensure we are providing them with the best possible service for continued loyalty. Reinforcing our legacy of exceptional service, SAA was recently voted Best Airline Staff in Africa at the World Aviation Awards,” concludes Luhabe.

In honour of this milestone, SAA rolled out a campaign that saw brand activation on social media, radio and print publications from September 2018 in the Nigeria region. Some of the activities include Voyager / Corporate dinner,  a Travel trade award function, SAA movie night for the Travel trade and to the children of the Arrow of God Orphanage (an Orphanage supported by SAA over the past 8 years), all leading to a celebration to be hosted in Lagos this December.


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