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SAA New CEO On Pitch, Meals And More...

Thu Dec 30, 2004 12:50 am

Khaya Ngqula, new CEO of SAA, was recently interviewed by a local newspaper on his views and visions for the airline. Here are some excerpts that touch on topics discussed in this forum in recent months.

Q: Are you listening to your customers?

A: Yes we are. We have to exceed the expectations of our customers. All customers can email me directly at with ideas on how we can improve our service. Every one of those contributions will be answered.

For instance, many of the responses so far were worried about the legroom on board our aircraft. We have heard these and are working on addressing these concerns.

We have decided to re-pitch the seats in economy class. Let me assure you, the space will be more than the international norm. We foresee that moving these seats will take us a year to do.

Q: What areas are you looking at to cut costs?

A: We will take a long hard look at the destinations we fly to. Only those that make us money will remain. We are aiming at offering a daily service on all our long haul flights. In this way we stimulate the demand and increase our income.

Q: Does this mean SAA customers will have less choice of where to fly to?

A: No. Once we become a fully fledged member of Star Alliance our partners in this alliance will give our customers access to almost every corner of the world.

Q: There have been some concerns that these cost cutting measures mean that passengers will no longer get in flight meals. Is this true?

A: Again the answer is no. SAA has decided to focus on simple, good food on its flights. Rather than on quantity, our focus in future will be on quality. I is very difficult to serve a meal on a short flight of only 40 minutes. In future on flights that are shorter than 1:15, only cold food will be served in economy class.

The snack that will be served throughout the day will a substantial sandwich with a variety of fillings. For supper, cold meats, cheeses, chicken or other substantial salads.

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RE: SAA New CEO On Pitch, Meals And More...

Thu Dec 30, 2004 4:21 am

We have decided to re-pitch the seats in economy class. Let me assure you, the space will be more than the international norm.


While I doubt we'll be seeing those nice 87 or 88cm again that some of us remember from the days of the B747-200/-300 or SP, at least SAA seems to be returning to something more than the LH-like pitch they've got now!

Great news!!!!!

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RE: SAA New CEO On Pitch, Meals And More...

Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:04 am

I received an update from my contact at SA sales which pretty much states the same, but goes into a bit more detail...

CEO signs MOU with STAR Alliance:
- our new CEO, Mr. Khaya Ngqula, has very recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a meeting of all STAR Alliance CEO’s.
- details are yet to be provided, but by joining STAR, “the alliance for the earth”, such benefits as synchronization of loyalty programs, implementation of codeshare agreements and access to lounges of various partners will all be part of the process.
- it is not expected to cause any immediate changes to our two current Gateways in the USA, but there may be a possible option for an additional Gateway later in the new year. We will try to communicate any developments as much in advance as is possible.

Changes of Schedule to JNB:
- Ex ATL: effective 01 February ’05, our Atlanta Schedule will change, with the daily flights now going into and out of Johannesburg, as follows:
- SA210 ATL / SID Depart 10:30 am Arrive 10:25 pm
SID / JNB Depart 11:25 pm Arrive 10:15 am (next day)
(Passengers arriving in JNB must collect their bags and clear customs)
- SA211 JNB / SID Depart 7:40 pm Arrive 2:35 am (next day)
SID / ATL Depart 3:35 am Arrive 8:20 am
- Ex JFK: also effective 01 February, all southbound daily JFK services will stop in DKR:
- SA204 JFK / DKR Depart 5:55 pm Arrive 6:20 am (next day)
DKR / JNB Depart 7:20 am Arrive 5:40 pm

Economy Class Seating:
- there has been considerable comment on the Economy Class Seats on the Airbus, particularly relating to seat pitch and room under the seat in front.
- these comments have been heard, and appropriate changes are currently being planned
- intended changes include removing some seats to allow a 33 inch pitch, making the In-flight Entertainment (IFE) boxes under the seats thinner, giving the IFE monitors a more upward tilt and looking at changing the type of foam used in the seat cushion.
- to effect these changes will take time, but the changes are certainly very positive.

E – Ticketing:
- SAA now has E – Ticketing on total domestic travel, using SAA, SA Express and SA Airlink, the only exceptions are Mmabatho (MBD) and Ulundi (ULD).
- The majority of Travel Agents in South Africa, are now selling SAA by E – Ticketing
- SAA International E – Ticketing will be phased in from early ’05, initially where SAA facilitates its own check-in functions within AxsControl. This will start between JNB / CPT and Regional Africa and UK / Europe.

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