Airline pilot to lead SA’s football charge


SOUTH African Airways (SAA) has named one of its top pilots as head co-ordinator of the airline’s preparatory committee for the 2010 World Cup Soccer Tournament.

Captain Mpho Mamashela will lead a team of SAA representatives to ensure the airline’s readiness for its involvement in what will be South Africa’s greatest sporting event ever.
He will liaise directly with members of the tournament’s organising body, amongst others, FIFA, the local organising committee, South African Tourism and National Government on SAA’s initiatives and also ensure that these are aligned to their requirements, according to an airline statement. 
“SAA felt it necessary to appoint a candidate with the operational knowledge and skills required to run an airline completely and efficiently, who would focus on ensuring the airline offered an exceptional experience to all visitors into South Africa during the World Cup,” says Khaya Ngqula, SAA CEO.
“As far as the World Cup 2010 is concerned, SAA is making a concerted effort to ensure that it is prepared for the influx of visitors into the country in 2010,” a spokesperson tells TTN. “Our objective for the 2010 soccer World Cup is to offer customers an exceptional experience, which they will take home with them. SAA, as a national carrier is a representative of South Africa. As a first contact for visitors into the country, SAA will ensure that it meets expectations and offers a superb experience, which is efficient, reliable and safe.”
Tourism to South Africa is definitely on the rise, says the spokesperson, and SAA is experiencing an increase of 4.5 per cent in the number of passengers making use of the airline’s services. The airline’s load factors are constant at 70 per cent.
SAA does not operate directly to the Middle East but has a codeshare agreement with Emirates on the Johannesburg-Dubai route. It is the leading airline on the African continent and carries more than seven million passengers a year on a route network that serves 34 cities in 26 countries. It has a fleet of 58 aircraft including brand new Airbus A340-600, A340-300E and A319 aircraft.
The airline announced recently that it incurred a profit loss of about 90 per cent in the previous financial year, amounting to a decrease from ZR648 million ($92.25 million) to ZR65 million.