Earlier in April 2016 Kenya Airways was named Africa’s leading airline, snatching the title from SAA who have been winning the award for the last 22 years.
The 23rd World Travel Awards, voted for by travel and tourism professionals worldwide, saw the winners announced at the Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony hosted by La Gemma dell’Est in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Kenya Airways was also named the African Airline with the best business class offering. Ethiopian Airlines was named best in Economy, while fastjet.com pipped local low-cost carriers Mango and kulula as Africa’s best low-cost carriers.
Now that the struggling SAA – tax payers have been bailing them out for years after making losses of millions year after year – has nothing to brag about, the South African national carrier says in a statement it is celebrating being part of Star Alliance for 10 year. Anything for a party, ne!
SAA was indeed the first African airline to join the global network in 2006, which provided other alliance partners access to SAA’s route network within South Africa and into the rest of the African continent.
Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab said SAA gave the alliance “a prominent foothold in Africa, which today is recognised as one of the most significant growth markets for international trade and aviation.
“We congratulate the airline on its 10-year anniversary as part of the Star Alliance family. We thank its staff for serving Star Alliance customers well every day for a decade and look forward to continued fruitful cooperation in the years to come,” said Schwab.
The alliance was founded with five member airlines in 1997, with membership totalling 28, including three strong airlines in Africa.
“Star Alliance members offer our customers the assurance that when they fly with SAA or any of the member airlines, they fly with airlines that adhere to certain standards as part of their high value offering to the customers they serve,” said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali.
Tlali said the airline’s decade-long membership is a major achievement, with the anniversary coming at a time where the alliance has reached a high level of maturity.
“We remain focused on increasing our participation in the alliance to ensure that we extract the fullest possible value from our membership for our airline and for our customers,” said Tlali.
Member airlines of the alliance offer an agreed set of aligned customer benefits and products at defined quality standards across the entire network.
“It is a matter of immense national pride that SAA remains a valued member of Star Alliance, maintaining exceptionally high international standards and contributing to the success of the alliance,” said Tlali.
Star Alliance has grown to have a presence in more than 192 countries, serving 1 330 airports with 18 500 daily departures.