SAA flights to Mauritius
(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • South African Airways will start flying to Mauritius again on 21 November.
  • The airline is already taking bookings, with its direct, one-way tickets cheaper than all its local competitors.
  • Tickets in November start at just R4,016.75, while the lowest fares in December start at R6,138.75.
  • But the national carrier's prices may rise into the new year, if pricing trends on its Johannesburg-Cape Town route are anything to go by.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South African Airways (SAA) will start flying to Mauritius on 21 November and, with one-way tickets starting at R4,016.75, is initially cheaper than its direct competitors.

It's been less than a month since South Africa's national carrier returned to the skies. This followed a protracted business rescue processes emanating from years of serious financial losses. The "new" SAA, which has a drastically reduced fleet, staff contingent, and serviceable routes, is still waiting on a deal with its preferred private equity partner, Takatso Consortium, to be signed.

But despite the uncertainty around the Takatso takeover and some operational hiccups in its first few weeks back in action, SAA has been busy reactivating important international partnerships.

A week after its relaunch, SAA signed a "memorandum of co-operation with Kenya Airways with a longer-term view to co-starting a Pan-African Airline Group." It's also resumed its long-standing partnership with Dubai-based Emirates.

SAA currently operates flights to eight destinations, including Accra, Harare, Dubai, Kinshasa, Lusaka, and Maputo. It's only servicing one domestic route, between Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town.

The most recent addition to SAA's routes includes Mauritius, which only recently reopened fully to vaccinated South Africans. Flights to Mauritius will restart on 21 November.

But unlike SAA's previous flight path to Mauritius, which included seven weekly flights aboard A340 and A330 aircrafts, this route will now only be serviced by two weekly flights, on Wednesdays and Sundays.

SAA's return to Mauritius comes just three weeks before FlySafair begins operating the same route from Johannesburg's OR Tambo. And while FlySafair's launch promotion offered one-way tickets at just R4,950 – the best price during the holiday period – those flights have all been sold out.

Tickets to Mauritius
One-way flights from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius (Prices correct at the time of publication, 12 October 2021)

The current lowest fare on offer by FlySafair is R6,700 in December. SAA's fares, during the same period, start at R6,138.75 and are even lower in November, starting at just R4,016.75.

SAA's starting fares are lower than all other airlines which fly directly between South Africa and Mauritius throughout November and December. This includes flights offered by Air Mauritius and British Airways (Comair).

But that may not last for long. SAA used a similar strategy for its relaunch in September. For a while, the national carrier offered the cheapest flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town – beating FlySafair, LIFT, Kulula, and Airlink – but has since steadily increased the price of its tickets. Today, its lowest fares on this route are easily beaten by its main domestic competitors. 

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