Leading airline growing its business into Asia
Updated: 2011-09-15 07:45
SAA is expanding its global route network with growth planned for routes to Beijing
Award-winning airline South African Airways (SAA) is planning to introduce a thrice-weekly service to Beijing, China by the end of October 2011.
SAA is working with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to obtain slots that will enable the airline to effectively connect with the greater African or South American markets, both of which cater for a large percentage of Chinese traffic.
The enterprising airline has, once again, won the Best Airline Africa award and the Service Excellence Africa award. The Skytrax awards were presented in Paris on June 22, 2011.
For the ninth consecutive year, SAA outperformed other airlines to claim the Best Airline Africa award. The lucrative title is awarded to the airline rated the best in the region for all the different items of airline front-line product and service.
The Service Excellence Africa award was given to SAA for the second consecutive year. A quality, unrivalled product as well as unwavering service standards and consistency experienced at the airport and onboard the aircraft were judging criteria for this award.
As CEO of SAA, Siza Mzimela said: "Excellent service is a key differentiator in the mind of discerning customers. We take service extremely seriously and are proud that our effort to focus on this key area of our business has been acknowledged. It only motivates us to do more for our valued customers so that SAA is their first and only airline choice."
Internally, amongst each of its employees, SAA constantly works at refreshing its focus on providing good service as well as keeping abreast of global trends in product innovation. Mzimela re-iterates: "Improving on SAA's customer service and the consistency of quality delivery is one of SAA's key strategic initiatives.
"SAA's intense focus on customer service will ultimately ensure consistency and efficiency in striving to offer service in a personalised and professional manner."
The Skytrax awards are based on customer responses to an online survey, which is run over a 10 month period on the Skytrax website.
The study analyzes customer satisfaction for the Airline Passenger Experience across the airport and onboard environments - from check-in to boarding, onboard seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food and beverages, In Flight Entertainment (IFE) and staff service (behaviour, attitudes and consistency).
This year, 18.8 million airline customers of more than 100 different nationalities participated in the survey. The survey includes over 200 airlines, from the largest international airlines to the smallest domestic airlines, and measured standards across more than 38 different items of airline frontline products and service.
SAA is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 20 destinations across the continent, as well as major destinations within South Africa, from its hub, Johannesburg. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance.
SAA's core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its four wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low-cost carrier; Airchefs, the catering arm of SAA and South African Travel Center (SATC).
SAA CEO Siza Mzimela is the first woman to be appointed to the IATA Board of Directors in its 67-year history. SAA has been the winner of the "Best Airline in Africa" Award in the regional category for ninth consecutive years and the winner of "Service Excellence Africa" in 2010 when this category was introduced.
Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two consecutive spots for South Africa's most on-time airlines.
(China Daily 09/15/2011 page7)