SAA to resume flights to Lagos, after 18 months of inactivity

After more than one year of inactivity, one of Africa’s biggest airlines, South African Airways (SAA) has concluded plans to resume the lucrative Johannesburg-Lagos route. The carrier plans to re-start the service on December 12, 2021.

This has brought smiles to several numbers of the airline’s loyal customers who had had to travel through other connecting flights out of Lagos to Johannesburg and other destinations in Southern Africa.

The carrier’s addition of the Johannesburg-Lagos route is another important continental route to its network with a three-times a week flight to Lagos in Nigeria.


Troubled South African Airways

SAA has been flying to Nigeria for the past 23 years and the resumption of the service is a welcome addition to its growing continental offering.

The interim CEO of South African Airways, Thomas Kgolo in a statement said, “This specific destination takes SAA into one of the biggest travel markets in Africa and we’re delighted that we are again able to resume operations, providing a link between Africa’s two biggest economies.”

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Kgokolo said the service is part of SAA’s gradual growth strategy, having resumed full operations in September.

According to him, “Our intention is to continue to develop our route network driven by passenger demand and revenue potential. We are constantly evaluating opportunities, both locally, regionally, and internationally.”

He further stated that not only does the new Johannesburg Lagos route function as a key economic link between the two countries but would also service the burgeoning tourism market in both countries.

He disclosed that would continue in partnership with South African Tourism to promote the country in Nigeria in the expectation that it would lead to more visitors now that international pandemic travel restrictions are being revised.

South African Airways had on September 23rd, 2021 resumed operations after a year of inactivity and almost 18 months without a commercial flight.

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The carrier initially offered flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka, and Maputo.

SAA has not flown any commercial flights since March 2020 and ceased all cargo and repatriation flights in September last year.

Kgokolo said, “After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service and we look forward to welcoming on board our loyal passengers and flying the South African flag. We continue to be a safe carrier and adhere to COVID-19 protocols.”

Tickets went on sale on August 26th and have sold well, according to the airline. According to Kgokolo, early figures indicate flights may be up to 75% full. Opening up other routes may prove to be a complication due to ongoing travel restrictions.

Kgokolo added, “There is a profound feeling of enthusiasm within Team SAA as we prepare for takeoff, with one common purpose -to rebuild and sustain a profitable airline that once again takes a leadership role among local, continental, and international airlines.”

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Thomas Kgokolo


The airline hasn’t operated any commercial flights since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. From that period until September 2020, the airline maintained cargo and repatriation flights but was forced to cease all operations due to financial problems.

After spending a period of 17 months in administration, SAA finally exited ‘business rescue‘ in April 2021, before the South African government agreed to sell its majority stake to Takatso Consortium in June.

Wole Shadare