A decision by the Australian International Air Services Commission extending permission for the codeshare until the end of March 2013 means SAA passengers can continue to choose to fly non stop to either Western Australia or to the east coast of the continent. Under the agreement, flights to Perth in the west are operated by SAA, while passengers flying to Sydney in the east on an SAA ticket will be accommodated on Qantas flights.
Welcoming the decision, SAA General Manager Commercial, Theunis Potgieter, said the airline would increase the number of flights between its Johannesburg hub and Perth from the current six per week in each direction to seven in mid-August. SAA would offer tickets on all seven codeshare flights per week in each direction between Johannesburg and Sydney.
“Perth is a popular family destination because of the many South African residents there, but it is also the major hub for connecting mining towns all over Western Australia, a very important factor for many of our passengers,” said Potgieter. “Perth is also a significant gateway for passengers headed to Melbourne, many other Australian cities, and to New Zealand.”
SAA has operated the Perth route for more than 50 years, making it one of the longest established destinations in the airline’s global long haul network. Following the current interim approval for the codeshare, SAA and Qantas are seeking a three-year extension of permission for the arrangement. SAA has written to the Australian Government International Air Services Commission in support of the application by Qantas, and a decision is expected later this year.
Potgieter said the code sharing arrangement further secures Johannesburg’s growing role as a fast, efficient transfer hub between South America and Australasia. “By connecting in Johannesburg, passengers can fly between Sao Paulo in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina, and Perth and Sydney in Australia.”