SAA to begin three new African routes

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South African Airways (SAA) is expanding its route network to Central Africa with three new destinations from 31 October.

The airline will start a three-times weekly service from Johannesburg to Bujumbura and Kigali, the capitals of Burundi and Rwanda, respectively. It will also extend its existing route to Libreville, Gabon on to the economic capital of Benin, Cotonou twice a week.

The new services will be operated by Airbus A319s in a 120-seat (25 business, 95 economy) configuration.

SAA sees the new routes as attracting primarily business traffic. They will "ensure that South Africa remains both a major destination in its own right and a key transit point for connecting long-haul international and regional African destinations", said SAA general manager commercial Theunis Potgieter.

In further developments on its route network, the South African flag carrier intends to stop operating its Johannesburg-Gaborone route from 7 August, with the service being taken over by regional carrier SA Express using smaller aircraft, but at an increased frequency.

SAA currently operates 13 A319 services a week on the sector. SA Express will operate 45 times weekly using a mix of 50-seat Bombardier Q300s and 74-seat Q400s.