Dc863 From Denmark, joined Jun 1999, 1554 posts, RR: 2 Posted (9 years 10 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 3880 times:
I flew on them only a few times the last being Oct. 1987 from Zurich to Jo'burg. I can't remember any moments of poor service, SAA always seemed quite professional. It was different flying them to and from S.A. because of the routes flown i.e. the long way around Africa. However I often wondered if any contraband military cargo was carried on the flights I had taken? Anyone else fly on SAA during the 70s and 80s?
Styles From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 89 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 3677 times:
Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know the US never officially severed ties with the Union of South Africa during apartheid. I believe there may have even been clandestine (military) support of it during their invasion of Namibia.
On a another point, did SAA serve TLV during Apartheid?
Targowski From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 127 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days ago) and read 3644 times:
do some searching on this board for SAA during aparthied. i have started and contributed to a few threads on this topic in the last year. an interesting topic indeed. i bet SAA did fly to TLV, lots of jews in SA from WWII immigration. the israelis and south africans were both pariah states during the 70s-80s in the eyes of their neighbors. they had close scientific ties, including a joint nuclear weapons program that even included an atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device in the early 1980s in the southern indian ocean. as well, when south africa opened up its nuclear program to the international inspection prior to the end of aparthied, the technology had israel written all over it, which embarrassed the israelis since their program is for political reasons plausibly deniable.
AlekToronto From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 328 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3610 times:
Well back in the days of apartheid SAA was denied flights into a lot countries mostly in Africa but including the US. This lead to operational nightmares...flights from SA had to route via Windhoek and Lisbon before heading to Europe as they could not overfly Africa. As for Tel Aviv I don't remember them having flights. but they could have - there were indeed a lot of ties between the countries, and a lot of Isrealis in SA.
SAA flights carried a lot of mysterious cargo in the day and a lot of times was involved in "shady" deals....SAA was in many ways an arm of the government. Some of my school friends parents worked for SAA and had interesting things to say.
As for service they were always friendly - well to us anyways..back in 1984 when our family left SA for Canada..When I flew them again in 2001 there was a great improvement in service thou.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3555 times:
Re: Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know the US never officially severed ties with the Union of South Africa during apartheid. I believe there may have even been clandestine (military) support of it during their invasion of Namibia
1. SA stopped being the Union of South Africa in 1961, and became the Republic of South Africa - when SA left (or were flung out of, according to your point of view) the Commonwealth.
2. SA never invaded Namibia. SA was granted the mandate to take over the running of the former German South West Africa, by the League of Nations in 1919. This mandate was renewed when the United Nations took over from the League of Nations, but the United Nations revoked the mandate back in the 70's. SA never took ownership of Namibia, it was run as seperate territory until independence. SA did invade Angola a few times, as part of the fight against SWAPO (and to destabilise Angola, which at the time was being heavily armed by Cuba). I believe there was tacit US support for these operations.
Re TLV - yes SAA operated flights to TLV all through the 70's and 80's (I think they stopped for a while in the 1990's). The route was JNB-LIS-FCO-TLV, usually operated by 74L, and it took about 18 hours !
Re. Was the United States the only country banning SAA flights in the 80's
No - Australia also banned SAA from flying, in around 1988 or 89 I think (I was working at SAA at the time). There was also the overflight ban over most of Africa (often flouted, I've heard, since many of the African countries involved
had no upper airspace control technology)
While SA did have lots of clandestine weapons importation, I'm not sure how much SAA was actually involved with it - since SAA was so obviously an arm of Government, it would have made more sense to use private and less visible firms - I worked at SAA Cargo international imports at JSA for 2 years from 1985 to 1987 and saw no sign of weapons imports on SAA flights, but there were many dodgy late night freighters parked over on Safair side (all white 747's for instance - possibly El Al). I also worked at AFB Waterkloof in Pretoria, and prepared flight plans for the odd 707F that passed through en route to Africa.
Ned Kelly From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 397 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3444 times:
During my visit to JNB during Aug & Sep 1979 at the height of apartheid, I would see the USAF operating around 2 C-141A services per week (usually a Wed & Sun). I did hear at the time that the occasional C-5A would also operate into JNB, but I am unable to confirm this.
I used to watch the crates of cargo being unloaded, but what type of cargo these crates contained, I am afraid I don't know.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3440 times:
The C141's at JSA were there monitoring Space Shuttle missions (or so we were told - they used to park right outside where I worked - I never saw any cargo being unloaded (this was later on though, during the 80's).
Moolies From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3366 times:
A few interesting things, during apartheid (some years) El SA) and Transaviaexport Cargo Airline (Belarus)">AL had the finest parking bay at JNB, it was reserved for only El SA) and Transaviaexport Cargo Airline (Belarus)">AL.
rumor has it SA helped acquire nukes via the Jews.
Also apparently through the grape vine sa had military sanctions impossed upon her by the USA.
A few years ago saa (not during apartheid) was carrying grenades to the UK with out the detonator's.
When this hit the media a lot of people stopped flying them for a while.
A forsenic pathologist then phoned them and said can I carry a nuclear weapon onboard with out the detonator, it has less of chance of exploding than ur grenades. They bent barmey when he said this.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3351 times:
Moolies - re: Also apparently through the grape vine sa had military sanctions impossed upon her by the USA.
Er - yeah ! SA had an arms embargo imposed by EVERYONE. OK, some countries are more embargoed than others, but it was a pretty total embargo.
Re Transaviaexport Airline - where was this finest parking bay ? I worked at JSA for many years, and never once saw that airline. Maybe you're thinking of the AN26's and IL76 that SAA chartered from the Ukraine to fly domestic and regional cargo - post apartheid.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3343 times:
Moolies - missed your first point re El Al - I don't know that it was the finest spot - it was certainly the spot furthest away from the terminal, on Alpha, right down the end of domestic. Presumably for security.
SA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3128 posts, RR: 26 Reply 16, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3329 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW HEAD MODERATOR
"SAA was in many ways an arm of the government. Some of my school friends parents worked for SAA and had interesting things to say."
SAA still is a government-owned airline. There also came out some interesting stuff after Mr. Coleman Andrews (CEO) suddenly left the company a few years ago. And let's not forget the hefty golden handshake he got.......
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3307 times:
QF stopped its flights to JNB way before 1980 - I don't remember when though. In 1980 only SA were flying to OZ.
Don't recall nonstops SYD-JNB - its possible, but there is a big VFR market for SA in PER, so the stop was commercial as well as technical. The flights used to go SYD-PER-MRU-SYD, so possibly the 74L operated the PER-JNB leg nonstop, cutting out MRU.
Capital146 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2003, 2125 posts, RR: 47 Reply 18, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3289 times:
JGPH1A, I may be getting a bit mixed up. The JNB-Australia flights probably did stop in Perth. I think SA and QF must have had a codeshare on this service as I have got a QF timetable from 1985 which shows a 74L service from JNB. I assumed it was one of QF's 74L's operating the flights but it could have been an SA 74L.
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 19, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3284 times:
QF 74L in JNB - I'm sure I would remember that, especially around that time - I worked at JSA and would have seen it. And there was no such thing as codeshare back then, at least not for SAA - everything was pool agreement, so no need. Does the QF timetable definitely have a QF flight number for that service ?
QF did operate to HRE at one point, possibly the tt is showing a transfer connection over HRE ? Just guessing.
AlekToronto From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 328 posts, RR: 0 Reply 21, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3258 times:
"SAA still is a government-owned airline. There also came out some interesting stuff after Mr. Coleman Andrews (CEO) suddenly left the company a few years ago. And let's not forget the hefty golden handshake he got......."
how much money we talking??? I haven't lived in SA for some time now....nice to see the shady deals are still going on....I would have thought that the government would have tried to offload SAA..maybe not!
Regardless, service on SAA is better now that there is some competition to SA.
Dc863 From Denmark, joined Jun 1999, 1554 posts, RR: 2 Reply 22, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3238 times:
I suppose SAA was no different than other carriers carrying arms or military equpiment for their respective governments during the cold war. I know Flying Tigers carried "packages" for the US miltary back in the 60s/70s as well as getting "lost" over routes from ANC-Japan when flying near Soviet territory. Such flights would be shadowed by US ELINT aircraft to pick up Soviet chatter. The big difference between Flying Tigers and SAA is that SAA was flying "packages" on combi or passenger aircraft while FT was flying the goods on purely cargo aircraft. An Arrow Air DC-8-63 that was lost on take-off in Gander in Dec. 1985 crashed because some explosives detonated onboard just as the DC-8 rotated from the runway.
RAAFController From Australia, joined May 2001, 125 posts, RR: 0 Reply 23, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3208 times:
In the 80's and early 90's I used to fly regularly to southern Africa, to South Africa (JNB) and Zimbabwe (HRE).
Flights were operated by QF (SAA/SAL pulled out do to apartheid reasons). The route on QF for most of the 80's was flown on B747SP and B747-200, VH-EAA, VH-EAB, and other rego's I can no longer remember. This route was SYD-PER-HRE and return. At no stage in the 80's did they fly to JNB. I used to transfer in HRE to SAA and Air Zimbabwe to get to JNB. The HRE/BYO to JNB flights were always operated by SAA B732's. Service was good, and for security reasons one had to identify your own bag which was usually placed under the aircraft wing. Once done, a baggage handler would then load your bag into the hold, and you boarded. Of note, the QF flights to and from Zimbabwe were always a codeshare with Air Zimbabwe due to the agreements to fly there. In HRE the announcements would also always be made as Air Zimbabwe flight XX, codeshare with Qantas XX, despite the equipment always being QF.
In the late 80's (after QF purchased the B744) and 90's QF started to operate B743's on the route. VH-EBT and VH-EBW were regulars with the occassional VH-EBU. From mid to late 90's B744's were operated, with direct flights offered from SYD - JNB - HRE - SYD, as well as SYD-PER-JNB-HRE-SYD. At this stage code share arrangements were negotiated with SAA.
QF has now ceased to fly to HRE due to political problems and payment issues.
As for SAA, in the late 80's a SAA B747 flinght number 7 or 9, (I cannot remember), crashed into the Indian ocean while on a flight to Hong Kong. The cause of the crash was a fire in the baggage hold. Investigation revealed that the fire started in some explosives and other military equipment/danegerous goods which had been "illegally" placed on board. the fire was so hot it was noted to have melted a tennis raquet made out of a carbon compound (ie ultra light weight, but also had a very high melting point much higher than steel or aluminium).
JGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 24, posted (9 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3193 times:
RAAFController - that matches with my recollections (when you say BYO, I think you meant BUQ - Bulawayo).
Re: As for SAA, in the late 80's a SAA B747 flight number 7 or 9
It was SA295 that crashed just off the coast of Mauritius - ZS-SAS 'Helderberg', operating TPE-MRU-JNB, 28 November 1987.
The theory was that red lithium (I think) which is a strategically valuable but unstable element, was being transported clandestinely from Taiwan in the main deck cargo hold, and ignited. This was only revealed many many years after the crash. I was working at SAA at the time, and the crash was devastating - really awful.
[Edited 2004-02-14 00:44:19]
25 RAAFController: JGPH1A - Yes thanks for that - BUQ - Bulawayo is what I meant. Thanks for the further detail on the SAA flight that crashed. Yes i do remember that th
26 Dc863: That 1987 crash was ZS-SAS 747 Combi "Helderberg".
27 Eddieho: Well, the thing that matters now is that SAA is doing pretty well (in my opinion), with all the new upgrades and purchases of aircraft. Is that a good
28 Tokolosh: There was a thread some time ago (4 months?) about SAA under apartheid but I can't find it. Quite a lot of interesting information there about the Hel
29 SA7700: AlekToronto Coleman Andrews was paid R232 million ($29million) for two and a halve years of service! There is great competition on the main domestic r
30 SA006: SA7700- BA Comair, SAA, Nationwide operate to PLZ. As for East London...well only SAA operate into it. I think PLZ is a develpoing route with this new
31 SA7700: SA006 I consider PLZ as one of the "main" destinations in SA as it is a large city serviced by a variety of airlines. At this stage smaller cities don
32 SA006: Thanks for that SA7700 What about Kimberly? I would certainly think that Bloemfontein is doing much better. SA Express operate into Kimberly and I thi
33 SA7700: SA006 Kimberley gets even less traffic than Bloem. Both cities are only served by SAX and SA Airlink. On weekdays Bloem gets about 7x JNB-flights per