South African Airways seeing a steady rise in passengers from India

Posted On Dec 15, 2014

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South African Airways seeing a steady rise in passengers from India

“India remains a key market for South African Airways with the destination seeing a steady rise in passengers from the country,” says Sajid Khan, Country Manager – India, South African Airways. Sajid Khan Country Manager – india, South African Airways We have been seeing steady growth from India and are optimistic about keeping this momentum going. Mumbai continues to be our largest market, followed by Delhi. We are waiting for our total numbers to hit a critical point after which we could look at expanding our network further.

South African Airways operates direct flights 6 days a week to Johannesburg from Mumbai and have forged code share agreements with Jet Airways and Air India to enable passengers from Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram travel to South Africa without any hassle. “We have introduced a new, wide bodied aircraft on the Mumbai-Johannesburg route along with customised Jain and Gujarati in-flight meals. The last few months also saw us introduce online bookings and new features like Social Check-In – an innovative way to select your travel partner,” said Khan. As for new initiatives for Indian market, Khan said, “We have been seeing steady growth from India and are optimistic about keeping this momentum going. Mumbai continues to be our largest market, followed by Delhi. We are waiting for our total numbers to hit a critical point after which we could look at expanding our network further.” Regarding expectation from 2014, Khan said, “South African Airways has one of the highest load factors in the network. We have seen steady growth year on year and therefore have introduced a bigger gauge aircraft, A340-300 on the Mumbai- Jo’burg route. We believe the number of passengers from India will only increase in the coming time with the destination becoming increasingly popular.” Trends among Indian travellers: India and South Africa share a close cultural and economic bond. Being a part of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) means that the two countries have a very close commercial and trade relations. “Besides the regular MICE travellers and planned tours, we are seeing a surge in fashion photographers and Bollywood film makersopting for the destination. Recent movies like Race 2 and Cocktail were shot in the country and there are many more future projects like JaggaJasoos that are currently being shot as well. Of late, we have also seen the emergence of a new category of travellers, called ‘Buddymooners’ - a group of honeymooners travelling together,” said Khan. As for joint promotions with South African Tourism, “South African Airways and South African Tourism work closely with each other to promote South Africa as an exciting travel and business destination. We co-ordinate with Ms. Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager – India, South African Tourism to jointly focus on showcasing South Africa as an ideal travel destination as well as its viability as a business destination to travellers from India,” said Khan, adding, “Further to that, we also work jointly with the High Commission in Delhi and the Consulate in Mumbai to help increase MICE travel and strengthen bilateral trade between India and South Africa. South Africa also attracts a lot of attention from the Indian film fraternity and SAA and the tourism board, again, work jointly to make the destination accessible to the film crew. In addition to this, we also promote the destination extensively on our Facebook page, FlySAA India and Twitter handle, @FlysaaIndia.”

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