South African Airways (SAA) is the national flag carrier of South Africa. The airline flies to destinations worldwide from its hub at OR Tambo International Airport.
South African Airways was founded in 1934 after the acquisition of Union Airways by the South African government. It suffered imposed sanctions by African countries during apartheid, which forced it to adopt long-range aircraft and other measures to counter these restrictions. During this time, it was also known by its Afrikaanse name, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL), which has been dropped. In 1997 a major overhaul programme, which involved a change of name, image and aircraft livery, as well as the introduction of online ticketing services, was carried out by the company’s board. The carrier has since joined airline alliance Star Alliance. In 2006, SAA split from Transnet, its parent company, to operate as an independent airline.
SAA owns Mango, a low cost domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express.