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SAA’s first flight to Abu Dhabi departs; new route widens network substantially

Johannesburg: South African Airways’ first flight, SA 278, to Abu Dhabi departed this morning at 09:30 and arrives at 20:25 local time in Abu Dhabi. The daily service sees frequencies between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi double with partner Etihad Airways continuing its seven weekly departures. The new network addition will also see SAA’s intercontinental reach expand significantly through the carrier’s onward codeshare partnership with Etihad Airways.


“Since first signing our codeshare agreement in 2013,” says Acting SAA CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, “the important partnership between SAA and Etihad Airways has grown positively. Our deepening relationship not only sees both airlines enjoy network expansion through codesharing, but together we are exploring means to share knowledge and best practice across a wide variety of aviation related and commercial matters.”


Business and leisure travellers will benefit from the convenience of multiple flight options between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi within the same day. More than 1,000 connections will also be offered each week over Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub to key markets including the GCC region, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and North and South East Asia including China.


The airlines have also significantly expanded their codeshare agreement to include a total of 51 routes, more than double the previous number. Etihad Airways will also place its ‘EY’ code on South African Airways’ new Johannesburg-Abu Dhabi flights, in addition to 17 of SAA’s other services from Johannesburg to key destinations across the African continent. In return, South African Airways will place its ‘SA’ code on 35 Etihad Airways routes beyond Abu Dhabi to a range of destinations worldwide.



“Aviation plays an important role not only in the movement of people and goods, but, as an economic growth and development catalyst,” says Mr. Bezuidenhout. “And the new service will support this.”


It is estimated that there are currently more than 200 South African companies doing business in the UAE and trade between the countries passed the R 20 billion mark in 2013. South African exports to the UAE rose from R 5.2 billion in 2009 to more than R 11 billion in 2013, and it continues to grow.


“It is connectivity to growing markets, for South African companies, that underpins the role of SAA as the national airline, a role charged with supporting and enabling economic benefit across all strata, including tourism.”


The UAE is considered one of South Africa’s Top 10 emerging export partners. The UAE is also the 24th largest investor in South Africa with foreign direct investment into South Africa having already reached the R 12 billion mark by 2012 and, it has continued to grow. It is also estimated that more than 50,000 South African nationals now work and live in the region.


The new South African Airways service is operated by a two-cabin Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured to carry 36 passengers in Business Class and 186 in Economy class.




Effective 29 March 2015 Etihad Airways and SAA: Johannesburg – Abu Dhabi schedule


Route Flight No. Departure Arrival Aircraft Frequency
Johannesburg (JNB) – Abu Dhabi (AUH SA278 09:30 20:25 Airbus A330 Daily
Abu Dhabi (AUH) - Johannesburg (JNB) SA279 01:05 08:15 Airbus A330 Daily
Johannesburg (JNB) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) EY603 20:00 06:20 +1 Airbus A330 Daily
Abu Dhabi (AUH) - Johannesburg (JNB) EY604 09:30 16:05 Airbus A330 Daily


Note: All departures and arrivals are listed in local time



For more information:

Tlali Tlali

082 333 3880

+27 11 978 2298



About South African Airways (SAA)

South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 57 destinations, in partnership with SA Express, SA Airlink and its low cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and ten intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub. 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 wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; and Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for twelve consecutive years and the winner of ‘Service Excellence Africa’ for three years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on - time airlines.