http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/saa-plays-key-in-strengthening-sas-international-relations-2011-09-09

SAA plays key role in SA’s international relations

Published 09 Sep 11
The aviation sector has an important role to play in supporting South Africa’s international relations and cooperation strategy, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said.

Speaking to Engineering News Online on the sidelines of airline South African Airways’ (SAA’s) financial results presentation on September 8, he said national carriers, such as SAA, played a key role in moving South Africans and tourists to and from countries.

“The aviation sector within public entities plays a critical role in supporting South Africa and we need to build SAA to ensure that it can support this role,” he explained.

Such countries included Brazil, Russia, India and China (Brics), where SAA needed to increase its global presence and expand its footprint.

In line with SAA’s international route expansion plans, the airline would now be launching a new route to Beijing, which is expected to be operational from November 15.

“As we are in the process of building new blocs, supporting the African continent, building Brics and supporting the strategy of tripartite group Ibsa [India, Brazil and South Africa], national carriers such as SAA have an important role to further enhance these relationships,” Gigaba said.