Airlines"Customers first," South African Airways new ethos

“Customers first,” South African Airways new ethos

To offer first-class customer service, South African Airways (SAA) has come up with a new business and operating philosophy, which the company says will also revive its former glory.

SAA is preparing to return to the skies, by flying the Johannesburg-Cape Town route and African destinations, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka, and Maputo on September 23 after a turbulent 16 months financial hiatus where it suspended operations since early last year and put under a business rescue process, partly due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. The national airline just exited the business rescue in April this year.

“While it’s impossible to ignore the recent difficult history of SAA, this is also a proud brand that celebrates its eighty-seventh anniversary this year and one that is respected the world over. Our jobs as custodians of this brand are to build on the goodwill gathered over so many years and to reshape and recast a business that all South Africans can be proud of,” according to the airline’s interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo in a statement.

Kgokolo also explained that a “new business and operating philosophy” of placing customers first is being imbued into the airline, noting that this is part of the airlines plans to regain the trust that was lost in the airline is a work in progress.

“Managers and staff…have been working collegially on a new philosophy of customer excellence. Some of the attributes that airline staff will be striving to build are, creating real connections with each other and customers; adopting an internal culture of collaboration; living by the principles of total accountability; being aspirational in terms of future growth and development; and containing costs,” the statement said.

“We know it’s going to take time. Trust and respect are not won overnight, but with the confidence and the enthusiasm our staff is showing ahead of our take off…I’m confident we will achieve those goals quickly. We know these are lofty goals but it’s only through striving for them, that we are going to put SAA back in a place where it belongs,” he said.

Ekene Lionel
Ekene Lionel is an author for The Aviator Africa, covering military aviation. He has worked as a journalist and defense tech writer for 5 years, much of that time focusing on military and emerging technologies.

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