Perth Airport (PER) in Western Australia has welcomed South African Airways (SAA) back to the city with the recommencement of the airline’s service between Johannesburg (JNB) and Perth. The airline’s first flight from the South African city aircraft touched down in Perth just after 12:30 on April 29, 2024.

The restart of services marks the end of a four-year hiatus of the service which was discontinued in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide decimating international travel. The newly resumed service will initially operate three times per week, delivering 78,936 seats onto the Johannesburg to Perth route, according to the airline.

SAA is using its single 19-year-old Airbus A340-300 aircraft on the route (registered ZS-SXF). The aircraft accommodates 253 passengers in a two-class configuration – 38 in business class and 215 in economy class. The route is a distance of 5,173 miles (8,325 km) and takes around nine hours and 30 minutes to complete on the eastbound leg to Perth.

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“It was great to see South African Airways back after a four-year break,” said Perth Airport’s CEO Jason Waters. “Perth Airport has had a remarkable partnership with SAA, which has spanned 67 years, and we are incredibly pleased to have them flying to and from our airport again.”

“There are a high number of South African ex-pats living in Perth and across WA, so the airline’s return is great news for those with family connections in South Africa as well as those looking to explore all that South Africa has to offer,” he added.

The airport operators are hoping that the service will resume a daily frequency once traffic has built up on the route after the four-year break.

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“This inaugural non-stop service operated by South African Airways represents a significant milestone in our state’s aviation recovery, providing direct connections for the substantial South African community residing in Western Australia,” said Western Australia’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Rita Saffioti.

“We’re really excited this service between Johannesburg and Perth has been reinstated, which brings massive advantages for our state’s tourism industry and of course, marks the 19th international destination we have secured direct links to since the pandemic.”

“The resumption of this flight is welcome news for South African ex-pats and their visiting friends and relatives, as well as for those traveling to Western Australia for major events such as the Springbok fans, who now have a direct connection ahead of the Rugby Championship match in August 2024 at the Optus Stadium,” Saffioti added.

What SAA says about JNB-PER

“We are excited to be back on these beautiful Perth shores, especially after stepping off the inaugural South African Airways’ direct flight between Johannesburg and Perth – marking a significant milestone in our recovery journey since we returned to the skies about three years ago,” commented South African Airways’ CEO, Professor John Lamola as he disembarked the inaugural flight.

“I can confirm that it was a pleasant and comfortable 10-hour flight and the shortest route between Johannesburg and Perth. Perth is our second intercontinental route to be relaunched after São Paulo, it signals the strategic importance to our growth and expansion plans. Additionally, Perth holds a special place in the hearts of many South Africans with strong family and business ties in the city and we are excited to make our contribution to the rekindling and strengthening of these ties,” he added.

“The relaunch of this route also means SAA now offers the most direct route across the Southern Hemisphere, from São Paulo to Perth and back through Johannesburg. This opens up South Africa and Australia to tourists and business travelers from Latin America, boosting the regional economies and growing the brands of both countries. We look forward to a long and enduring relationship with the people of Perth,” Lamola concluded.

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