National carrier South African Airways (SAA) resumed its flights on Thursday morning after it was grounded due to restructuring more than a year ago.
SAA 317 became the first flight in more than a year, taking off from the OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg to the Cape Town International Airport with 123 passengers on board.
The airline said its flights to five African capital cities such as Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka, and Maputo would also resume soon.
SAA’s interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo said the goal was to ensure the airline succeeded.
“Our journey back to the skies has not been easy and I pay tribute to our dedicated workforce in all areas of the business. People in every facet of the business want nothing more than for SAA to succeed and for us to build a new airline based on safety and exemplary customer service,” he said in a statement.
Kgokolo said the impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector meant that SAA would not be “returning to all routes immediately.”
“We will continually monitor developments in the aviation sector by analyzing data and insights to help rebuild our full flight schedule to the right places at the right time,” he said.
The SAA underwent restructuring after experiencing financial challenges. The government announced in June this year that the airline had acquired a new private equity partner Takatso Consortium who would be the majority shareholder.