South Africa’s Competition Commission has given the green light to Takatso Consortium to acquire a 51% stake in the national airline South Africa Airways. The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) will retain the remaining 49% of the airline
South African Airways (SAA) is the flag carrier airline of South Africa. Founded in 1934, the airline is headquartered in Airways Park at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and operates a hub-and-spoke network, serving ten destinations in Africa. The carrier joined Star Alliance in April 2006, making it the first African carrier to sign with one of the three major airline alliances.
The airline entered voluntary business rescue in December 2019 as a result of many years of financial losses, and suspended all operations the following year. In June 2021, the government announced that in an attempt to revive the airline, it had entered into a partnership with the Takatso Consortium, which would hold a 51% controlling stake. The South African Civil Aviation Authority confirmed on 4 August 2021 that SAA’s air operator’s certificate had been reissued with an approved fleet of eight aircraft.
The airline restarted operations on 23 September 2021, despite not having concluded the investment agreement with the proposed private partners. Nonetheless, SAA was recognised as the second best airline in Africa by Skytrax in 2021, despite not having flown a single scheduled flight for 18 months.
South African Airways was founded in 1934 after the acquisition of Union Airways by the South African government. The airline was initially overseen and controlled by South African Railways and Harbours Administration. Anti-apartheid sanctions by African countries deprived the airline of stopover airports during apartheid, forcing it to bypass the continent with long-range aircraft. During this time, it was also known by its Afrikaans name, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL, lit. '”South African Air Service”‘), which has since been dropped by the airline. In 1997 SAA changed its name, image and aircraft livery and introduced online ticketing services. In 2006, SAA was split from Transnet, its parent company, to operate as an independent airline. It remains one of the largest of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises. SAA owns Mango, a low-cost domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express. It is a member of the Star Alliance.
In 1986, the South African Airways Museum Society opened its doors to the public at Jan Smuts International Airport (which was renamed OR Tambo International Airport in 2006). The organisation was formed by South African Airways employees and outside parties with the mission of preserving South African aviation history, especially that of SAA itself. Based at Transvaal Aviation Club, Rand Airport, Germiston, it was founded after the restoration of the CASA 352L. Since then, many aircraft have joined SAA Museum Society’s collection relating to South African aviation.