dc863
Posts: 1466
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 1999 10:52 am

SAA 20 Years Ago

Sun Feb 08, 2004 2:48 pm

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?
 
ZASpringboks
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 8:47 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Fri Feb 13, 2004 7:42 am

Was the United States the only country banning SAA flights in the 80's? When were they allowed to reinstate service?

Cheers!
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 15326
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RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Fri Feb 13, 2004 7:52 am

Practically every African country did not allow overflights by SA, hence the long way around Africa to Europe, as well as the Enron style relative to Luxair known as Sky Trek Airways.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
styles
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 4:04 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Fri Feb 13, 2004 8:15 am

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
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2003 9:57 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:05 am

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
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 7:42 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:40 pm

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.

cheers!
Alek
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
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RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Fri Feb 13, 2004 7:29 pm

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.

Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Ned Kelly
Posts: 398
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RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 2:46 am

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
Posts: 15080
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RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 2:48 am

Ned Kelly

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).

Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
styles
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 4:04 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 5:40 am

JGPH1A,
THanks for the corrected info on SA and SAA in general.

Can anyone advise where SAA operated long haul routes from JNB during Apartheid? I would assume LHR and TLV/FCO/LIS have already been mentioned. When did they purchase their Boeings?
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:01 am

SAA operated during the 70's and 80's to a lot of destinations worldwide - I'm trying to recall them all..

Europe

LHR, MAN (briefly), ORY, BRU, AMS, MAD, LIS, ZRH, FRA, ROM, ATH, TLV, LPA, VIE

North America (up till about 88)

JFK, IAH (briefly)

South America

GIG, BUE

Australia (up till about 88)

PER, SYD

Asia

HKG, TPE

Africa

WDH, KMP, MPM, HRE, BUQ, VFA, LUN, FBM, LLW, BLZ, MRU, RUN, HAH, ABJ, SID

MSU, MTS, GBE, MUB, FRW (until the HS7's were retired)

In fact, SAA served a few more longhaul destinations then than they do now.

[Edited 2004-02-13 22:05:52]
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Moolies
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:59 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:08 am

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.


 
Moolies
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:59 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:09 am

ah it cut the op of my previous message of and added something bad, well during some years of aparthied. EL AL had the best parking bay at JNB reserved for her.
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:13 am

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.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
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RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:16 am

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.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Capital146
Posts: 2099
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:45 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:24 am

Did QF continue its flights from Australia to JNB during the late 1980's when SAA were banned?

I remember in the mid-1980's that QF operated 747SP's non-stop from SYD to JNB.
Like a fine wine, one gets better with age.
 
SA7700
Posts: 2936
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:28 am

AlekToronto

"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 (Grand Designs)
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 6:47 am

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.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
Capital146
Posts: 2099
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:45 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:09 am

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.
Like a fine wine, one gets better with age.
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:12 am

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.
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
dc863
Posts: 1466
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 1999 10:52 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:42 am

I'm sure the 74L was a SAA aircraft operating between JNB-Perth.
 
AlekToronto
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 7:42 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:43 am

"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.

cheers!
Alek
 
dc863
Posts: 1466
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 1999 10:52 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 7:52 am

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
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed May 30, 2001 9:50 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:17 am

Hello All,

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
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:26 am

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]
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
RAAFController
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed May 30, 2001 9:50 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:41 am

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 the facts only came out a few years later.

 
dc863
Posts: 1466
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 1999 10:52 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 2:12 pm

That 1987 crash was ZS-SAS 747 Combi "Helderberg".
 
eddieho
Posts: 223
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 11:09 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 2:17 pm

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 indication? Correct me if I'm wrong.
 
tokolosh
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 7:02 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 5:18 pm

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 Helderberg crash, Luxavia/Trek, etc. Also note that SAA was very happy when the 747SP came out because of the long routes it had to fly (around Africa).
Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?
 
SA7700
Posts: 2936
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 5:48 pm

AlekToronto

Coleman Andrews was paid R232 million ($29million) for two and a halve years of service!

There is great competition on the main domestic routes where SAA, BA Comair, Nationwide and Kulula operate.
In addition Sunair provides an executive airservice on 2x DC9-32's (configured with 72 J-class seats) from Lanseria Airport (northwest of Johannesburg) to CPT.
Let's not forget that 1time.aero (new LCC) is also entering the lucrative JNB/CPT market.

Unfortunately there is no competition whatsoever to destinations like East London, Bloemfontein, etc. Unless you consider the train or bus competition.....  Crying



JGPH1A

There was speculation in the South African media that the Helderberg carried "red mercury". Later on the rumor changed to "rocket fuel". However, the file has finally been closed, to my knowledge.


Eddieho

Apart from the fact that SAA is still operating at a loss (at the South African taxpayers expense), it "seems" as if the airline is moving smoothly.
With regards to the rumor of SAA having plans joining Skyteam, they should have a very careful think. It could "rock the boat" somewhat.
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
SA006
Posts: 1818
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:28 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sat Feb 14, 2004 8:29 pm

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 British charter airline Av8Air starting to PLZ and DUR. Is GRJ (George) doing well? Nationwide, Kulula and SAA operate there. Pretty busy the last time I was there.

As for the Helderberg accident....I don't know much about it except that my mother was on the JNB-MRU flight but was replaced by another crew to fly to TPE. Back from TPE-MRU the plane crashed off Mauritius. My mom actually SAW the plane ,from the plane she was on from MRU-HKG, 1 hour before it crashed from the cockpit of her plane. My mom by the way was an F/A.

Rgds and safe flying
SA006
Proudly South African
 
SA7700
Posts: 2936
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:22 am

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't have the luxury of competing airlines. SA Express and SA Airlink (SAA alliance partners) are sole providers on some routes and have a deathgrip on consumers who fly these routes. Unless some of the companies like BA Comair and Nationwide acquire RJ's, the SAA alliance will keep them out with their regional aircraft.

Nationwide lasted about 2-3 days in Bloemfontein when they tried to service the city with a 732, once daily only on certain weekdays! Which proves the point that passengers need frequencies and not necessarily capacity.

George Airport is doing OK, being the "gateway to the Garden Route". Many tourists hire cars there and drive along the coast, exploring. Furthermore you should remember that the property market along the Cape South coast is booming, George being in the "centre" of that development. Therefore many tourists, visitors and residents getting of there.

Regards

SA7700
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
SA006
Posts: 1818
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:28 am

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:49 am

Thanks for that SA7700

What about Kimberly? I would certainly think that Bloemfontein is doing much better. SA Express operate into Kimberly and I think SA express (?).

George is a lovely place to visit and if anyone is planning a trip to South Africa I reccomend George.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Rgds
SA006
Proudly South African
 
SA7700
Posts: 2936
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:10 am

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 day. We also get 3x CPT-flights and 2x DUR-flights. Saturdays are very slow overall and on Sundays the traffic picks up again.

At this stage Bloem Airport's only advantage is the fact that SAA and BA Comair use it now and again for practice touchdowns and takeoffs. We have had a quite a range for such a "small airport": 74L's, 742, 743 (Ndizani), 744's and both the A342 & A346's.

My biggest surprise yet was when a KLM 744 was standing on one of the taxiways. It was diverted due to bad weather.

Regards

SA7700

When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
tokolosh
Posts: 357
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 7:02 pm

RE: SAA 20 Years Ago

Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:14 am

Um, haven't we gone a bit off topic?
Did the chicken or the egg get laid first?