It has been a year since South African Airlines (SAA) started direct flight operations to the United States’ capital, Washington DC, under a 5thFreedom Right from Ghana, to fill a yawning gap of meeting the large demand on that route and also offer convenience to the travelling public.
Grounded on convenience to the traveller, SAA has gone ahead to establish credible relationship and partnerships with various international and regional carriers to ensure seamless connections for passengers. With Africa World Airlines (AWA), SA Express, Airlink and Mango helping with fluid connections within Africa, other North American lines, such as Air Canada, United Airlines, JetBlue, American Airlines and Virgin America, are in the loop to ensure that connections from Dulles Airport in Washington DC remain hustle-free for customers.
Travellers from Ghana and the entire West African sub region, who relish travelling to the United States and Canada can therefore count themselves fortunate to utilise the golden direct flight opportunity created by South African Airways to Washington DC to do business, visit families and friends or for tourism.
At a recent seminar in Washington DC for selected travel and tour operators from Ghana, Senegal and Coted’Ivoire, the Ghana Country Director of SAA, Mrs Gloria Yirenkyi, called on travellers to leverage the opportunities the airline had created. The seminar was part of the airline’s efforts to continuously engage its key stakeholders as it strives to dominate the aviation industry not only in Ghana and the African continent, but to remain a major player on the global aviation scene.
The participants were from representatives from FJ Traveland Tour, Josh Travel and Tour,
Afrowings Travel, Eurotours, Doscar Travels, Celex Travelsand Stellar Travels.
They were also addressed by Destination DC, the official destination marketing organisation for Washington DC, the Editor of the Afrikan Post, a widely circulated newspaper that tells the African story, among others.
Ms Yirenkyi said: “South African Airways has positioned itself as the airline of choice and it is determined to serve its clients to the best of its ability by creating the platform for its passengers to reach their destinations in any part of the world with ease. ”She said the airline was also ever aging the many awards it had received for its unique services to form strategic partnerships that inure to the benefits of its stakeholders.
Ms Yirenkyi said the airline offered more allowance in terms of luggage for its passengers and, therefore, asked the travel and tour operators to sell that to their clients and potential customers.
Addressing the participants, the Director of International Sales and Development, Mid-Atlantic Region of SAA, Ms Derbie Droke, said the airline was reaching deeper to Africans in DC and elsewhere to fly it and experience its unique value propositions.
“As an airline, we are also contributing to the preservation of the climate; we flew once using biofuels and that was successful so very soon we are to fly all our aircrafts using bio fuels,” she said. Ms Droke said the airline had also partnered with companies such as Destination DC in the tourism and destination management industry to provide unique services for businesses, conferences and tourism.
The Publisher and Editor of Afrikan Post, Mr George Bright-Abu, asked the airline to create greater synergies with people from Africa to enable them to take greater interest in the airline. “We have so many Ghanaians living the tri-state of Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland who visit often but who go through a lot of stress having to transit in other countries for several hours before reaching home,” he said.