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South African Airways still rated amongst the world’s best

Johannesburg. 28 January 2009

South African Airways (SAA), the leading airline on the African continent, has again been ranked by industry experts as being amongst the world’s top international airlines.

SAA has been given this vote of confidence following the annual service and product quality assessment by aviation industry experts, Skytrax. This accolade is a proud addition to the list of awards that the airline has received thus far.

The Skyrax rating is supported by a recent internal customer satisfaction survey that SAA recently ran amongst its customers. The survey found that the level of customer satisfaction with the airline’s service levels at airports has increased almost 10% over the past six months.

There has been a significant increase in satisfaction levels with the service rendered by cabin crew in particular, and the airline is perceived as being safe and reliable in all markets – domestic, regional and international.

Skytrax Survey

SAA was grouped with the best in the world as a member of the top 15 best international airlines for both its Business and Economy Class products and its service offering.

SAA also moved up two spots for its Business Class product to take the podium at number 11 in the top 15 when it comes to its offering for the business traveller.

Most importantly, the airline has retained its top spot as the best carrier on the continent for the 6th consecutive year. This is a huge achievement given the current tough aviation environment and the restructuring programme which the airline started in March 2007.

The British Skytrax awards are recognised around the world and the surveys are renowned for being a truly global, independent survey of airline standards, with an estimated 15-million passengers participating worldwide.

The Skytrax surveys measure more than 35 different aspects of passenger satisfaction for an airline’s product and service standards, so it is a key measurement of customer satisfaction levels.

“As Africa’s leading airline we are proud to carry the South African flag across the continent. We remain 100% committed to offering our customers a comprehensive route network, increased frequencies, more destinations to choose from, an outstanding product, more lounges and improved customer service.

“We are also exceptionally proud to be grouped with the best in the world and our business class offering is outstanding, which is evidenced by this vote of approval from the industry specialists,” says Khaya Ngqula, SAA CEO.

Other ratings are: SAA rated number 14 in economy class, again mostly topped by the Asian/Middle East carriers. Our economy class seat is now ranked number two in the world.

SAA customer survey

SAA also regularly runs surveys amongst its customers, with the latest comprehensive survey showing a marked improvement in how passengers view the airline’s customer service. The surveys form part of the airline’s current focus on customer service which is an integral part of its deep and fundamental restructuring process.

Key findings included an improvement in passengers overall satisfaction with in-flight services and products, notably food and beverages, in-flight entertainment, and the comfort of the cabin, as well as the level of service delivered by SAA cabin crew and employees at many airports.

SAA has embarked on a drive to ensure that customer comments about the service they receive on board are collected through a customer service survey, where customers can give their input to ensure the airline corrects any shortcomings.

“Customer service is one of the most critical elements of SAA’s business, and we have been paying a lot of attention to it in recent months as part of our restructuring programme. This survey has indicated that there has been a big improvement in the overall level of customer satisfaction.

“This is positive news, and it shows we are on the right track. We will ensure that we continue to focus strongly on this area of the business going forward,” says Ngqula.

SAA awards 2008

* Best Airline in Africa and Best Cabin Crew in Africa and first prize in the domestic airline category of the Sunday Times Top Brands survey. SAA maintained its position as best airline operating in the local market, and named as the runner-up in the category for international airlines

* Best Airline in Africa and Best Cabin Crew in Africa at the World Airline Awards, based on the annual World Airline Survey by British aviation experts Skytrax.

* Airline of the Year 2008 at the annual CBC African Business Awards 2008. The award goes to the best business operating in the airline industry within Africa. SAA was pitted against fellow nominees in the category, Afriqiyah, Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways, Royal Air Maroc and Virgin Nigeria.

* Named Africa's Leading Airline during the World Travel Awards in June. Winners are nominated by Travel Agents around the world.

* SAA Cargo received two International awards, 2008 Air Cargo Award of Excellence and 2008 Best African Cargo Airline through surveys conducted by Air Cargo World and Air Cargo News magazines.

* For the 17th consecutive year, SAA received the Best Airline to Africa at the Weekly Globe Awards.

* For the 10th consecutive year, the airline was named OAG's Best Airline Based in Africa

* For the 9th consecutive year, SAA was named Best African Airline from Telegraph ULTRA in the UK.

Issued by SAA Group Corporate Affairs

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