- From May 2007, South African Airways (SAA) will add a new route to its services, as the national carrier has announced to fly from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to Johannesburg via Dakar (Senegal). SAA will thus even increase its Dakar services, despite earlier signals to scale them down.
"At SAA we are continually looking for ways to enhance our service and this new gateway brings South Africa closer and more convenient for our clients, further enhancing the very best service to Africa," Marc Cavaliere, Executive Vice President of SAA, declared in a statement today.
The carrier's new Chicago-Johannesburg service will operate the new Airbus 340, which is powered by four Rolls Royce Trent Engines that ensures fast and quiet trip.
"Our new Chicago gateway is our commitment to our customers' requests for increased service and further demonstrates that nobody offers more non-stop flights to and throughout Africa than South African Airways," explains Mr Cavaliere, promising more "exciting developments" for SAA customers.
SAA is the only carrier that features non-stop service from the United States to South Africa with daily departures from Washington.
Seen as the most reliable airline in the continent, SAA also has the largest network, featuring more than 20 destinations in African cities. In South Africa itself, the airline connects more than 20 destinations. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, SAA also indirectly can offer a total of 852 destinations in 152 countries.
The announcement of a Dakar stopover on the new Johannesburg-Chicago route will also come as a positive surprise for the Senegalese, which earlier this year saw threats to their SAA connections with the US and South Africa.
In July, SAA first had decided to cancel its Dakar stopover of its Washington and New York flights following a shortage of fuel in the Senegalese capital, brought about by a strike by truckers that made it impossible to transport fuel from refineries to the airport. After protests from passengers, SAA however backed down on the plans and instead included an extra refuel stopover on Cape Verde's island of Sal.
SAA also had discussed plans to skip stopovers in Dakar, at least on its Johannesburg-New York route. Bottlenecks at Dakar's old and ineffective Senghor airport were believed to cost too much time and efforts.
The Dakar routes to the US and South Africa however have an increased popularity as the Senegalese market is growing, and existing routes are seen as having a too low capacity to supply the potential market.
The announced arrival of Atlanta-based Delta Air on 4 December on this route probably has woken up SAA, which so far has had a monopoly on flights between the US, Senegal and South Africa. Delta Air next week inaugurates its new route between Atlanta and Johannesburg with a stopover in Dakar.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.