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South African Airways Commences Flights To Abuja

To Establish MRO Services In Nigeria and Ghana
Tony Ailemen,Abuja

The South African Airways, one of Africa’s leading airlines yesterday announced the extension of direct flights from Johannesburg to Abuja, come 26th January, 2016.
This is just as the airline said it is establishing aircraft maintenance, repairs and overhaul MRO, facilities in Nigeria and Ghana as part of plans to share its expertise with other African countries.
The airlines Regional General Manager for Africa and the Middle East, Aaron Munetsi made the disclosure while briefing Newsmen in Abuja on the plans to expand its operations to Abuja, come January, 2016.
The airline said it will operate three non- stop flights weekly from Johannesburg to Abuja as from January 26th, 2016, which it hopes will go daily depending of the flow of traffic on the route.
The plans to open the second entry point to Nigeria, according to the airline operators, is to enable trade as well as unlock mobility and add additional travel options in and out of the West African region
“We are delighted to be everywhere on the African continent and because we are Africans, everywhere we are, we call home. So, when we are here in Nigeria, it is also home”
The South African Airways is recorded to be the oldest airline on the African continent and has been operating for over 80 years on the continent.
” We are so proud to be an African airline and we want to share everything that we have, all the experiences, the expertise and all the knowledge that we have, we want to share with our fellow Africans because for us, there is no responsibility without leadership. That is why today, we are so proud to be announcing the commencement of South African Airways operations to Abuja”
The airline has been operating the Johannesburg to Lagos since 1998 and has been expanding it business and relationships in Nigeria, so much so that it has become absolutely necessary to add the Abuja second gateway, come 26th of January, 2016, commencing operations with three flights a week from Johannesburg, non- stop to Abuja.
He disclosed that for 14 consecutive years, the South African Airways has been awarded the best airline in Africa, beating the likes of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airline, KLM, amongst others.
Baggage allowance, that will allow for 32kgs free luggage for those flying economy and 33kgs for those flying business class.
Others include full Nollywood videos, some of the best wines in the world and other juicy packages that will enhance the comfort of travellers, during their flights to and from Nigeria.
” For us, we are Africans, we are the best in Africa and we want to serve Africa, the best way we possibly can. That is our song.
“We are bringing a very young fleet of aircraft, with technical expertise. We have our own technical base which is a separate business unit. We look after aircraft from what is called the line checks.
Speaking further on the establishment of the MRO facilities, he noted that the move will help to build local aircraft maintenance personnel in both Nigeria and Ghana.
“Right now we have this expertise that we share with the rest of African countries and we are in the process of establishing Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul MRO, services to overhaul aircraft facilities in places like Nigeria and Ghana”
“When the aircraft arrives, it goes on to the Tarmac, we service the aircraft, it turns around and is ready to go somewhere else. As the life line of the aircraft progresses, we go to the A Check, or the basic check, B check, C check and the D check”
“D check is the most complicated engineering checks carried out for an airline. You basically strip every nut and bolt down from the aircraft and the aircraft is rebuilt afresh. Just to show you the expertise that we have, we have airlines like Lufthansa, Atlantic Pacific, Australian Airlines, they send their aircraft to us in Johannesburg, to do the D check”
“These are the expertise that we want to share with the rest of Africa continent
” Let me disabuse your mind on an issue, there is no such thing as an old aircraft as long as you follow the directives of the manufacturers of the aircrafts. After certain number of flying hours, the aircraft must go for A check, B check and so on and so forth, until you get to the D check.
” When you get to the D check level, the manufacturers of the aircraft says the aircraft must be grounded and everything, including the nuts and bots, everything of the aircraft must be brought down and rebuilt afresh and when you have done the D check and you have rebuilt it, it becomes a brand new aircraft. Everything that is on that aircraft is brand new and it can serve you for another 30 to 40 years, as long as you follow the instructions of the manufacturers”
” According to a study done by Boeing, by the year 2030, there will be 1,700 new aircraft will be delivered to Africa. So, who is going to maintain and fly them? So the MRO provide the opportunity, if I have two or three technicians here based in Abuja and they start to teach Nigerians, when they learn and also transfer their knowledge, when we have these aircrafts, we will have enough man powers to be able to maintain them”
The briefing was attended by the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Lulu Louis Mnguni and Thobi Duma, South African Airways Country Manager in Nigeria.

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