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The latest news & history of SA Express (SAX), a South African government-owned carrier:

  • 3 October 2016 : SA Express was unable to table their annual financial statements for 2015/2016 on Friday, 30 September 2016, as the airline is technically insolvent. Minister Lynne Browne could not give a date for when the airline would be able to table the results.

  • 3 May 2016 : All SA Express were grounded over the weekend. The South African Civil Aviation Authority suspended all SA Express flights on Saturday over what was referred to as “serious safety hazards”. Passengers were left stranded on Saturday and Sunday, as all the airline's flights in Southern Africa were grounded. It later emerged that SA Express had failed to meet safety requirements during two seperate audits in April and subsequently missed the extended deadline on the 29th of April 2016 to fix all outstanding issues, which eventually lead to the suspension. They have since reached an understanding and SA Express flights were resumed 42 hours after their flights were suspended.

  • 14 April 2016 : Yesterday SA Express had to appear before a select committee of Parliament in relation to their poor financial performance. They only achieved 56% of their target for the year 2014/2015 and failed to produce sufficient documention on assets and inventory. In addition to this there were also irregularities in the report. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) contested the airlines position that it was a going concern thanks to government guarantees, due to lack of proof. Scopa’s Vincent Smith said that the airline's continued existence is questionable. The airline will next present a report in front of the comittee on the 1st of May to assess the success of remedial action implemented. It looks like this state owned airline's days might be numbered.

  • 14 August 2015 : SA Express had to make an emergency landing at Bloemfontein's Bram Fischer International Airport yesterday. The flight from Johannesburg to George experienced some sort of technical difficulty which forced them to do an emergency landing at the nearest airport. The plane landed safely yesterday afternoon without causing any disruptions to Bram Fischer's flight schedule.

  • 17 March 2015 : SA Express is launching flights to Pilanesberg, making the area more accessible for both leisure and business travellers. From 1 April 2015 they will fly between both Cape Town to Pilanesberg and Joburg to Pilanesberg. They will fly between Johannesburg and Pilanesberg on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (3 times per week) and between Cape Town and Pilanesberg on Mondays and Fridays (twice per week). This route will be served with two 50-seater CRJ 200s.

  • 14 January 2015 : SA Express has announced that they will be adding flights between Johannesburg and Windhoek to their scheduled routes. The flights will be operated on Fridays and Sundays. On Fridays the flight to Walvis Bay will depart at 09h00 and arrive at 11h25. The return flight to Joburg will depart at 12h00 and arrive in Joburg at 14h25. On Sundays the flight to Walvis Bay will depart Joburg at 13hoo and arrive at 15h25. The return flight to Joburg will depart Walvis Bay at 16h00 and arrive in Joburg at 18h25.

  • 1 December 2014 : South African Express is now officially insolvent according to its management. The airline has asked permission from the government to apply for bank loans to keep the afloat. The airline needs urgent funding to stay in the air. I wonder which bank would grant the airline a loan after years of financial mismanagement and bankruptcy.

  • 26 March 2014 : SAX are planning to launch flights to Maseru, Lesotho.

  • March 2014. After accelerating for takeoff from OR Tambo International Airport, an SA Express de Havilland Dash 8-400 emitted flames & bangs from the left engine, and pilots brought the plane to a halt some 500m before the end of the runway. The plane was to fly from Johannesburg to Kimberley.

  • 18 December 2013 : SA Express competion winner is announced. Deedee Hunter has won 2 return SA Express flight tickets, on any domestic flight route in South Africa.

  • 14 December 2013 : SA Express message to Madiba : "Behind everything that makes South Africa great is a leader who has shown us our ability to rise above and beyond. The board, management and staff of SA Express thank you Madiba - your life will always guide us."

  • 6 December 2013 : SA Express have warned that their flight schedule will be disrupted from the 6th to the 17th December, as folk from all round the world fly to South Africa to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. Phone 011-978-6871 for info on the temporary scheduling.

  • SA Express December 2013 Magazine : SAX looks forward to celebrating 20 years of existence in 2014, coinciding with 20 years of democracy in South Africa. Keeping with the theme of 20's, in 2013 the SAX 20:20 vision was launched, which involves looking back at the lessons learnt over 20 years and foward to a roadmap for the next 20 years.

  • 11 November 2013 : Competition to win 2 SA Express flight tickets.

  • SA Express November 2013 Magazine : SAX celebrates their new flight routes from Johannesburg to Nelspruit, Cape Town to George and Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg: "Our market analysis has indicated that there is room for additional services on these routes".

  • 1 November 2013 : SA Express flights from Cape Town to George (CPT-GRJ), as well as SAX flights from Johannesburg to Nelspruit (JNB-MQP) and Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg (JNB-PZB). They loaded up the routes on the GDS at the end of September, but here's their press release from 18 October 2013: 'With the launch of new routes by SA Express in November, consumers will be benefitting from the positive effects of competition. The airline’s big aim is to make the cost of flying much more affordable as well as grow the market. The new routes that the airline will be introducing are from Cape Town to George, Johannesburg to Nelspruit, and Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg. Airlink previously held a monopoly in these markets and the competition does not fall foul of any provision of the competition law. SA Express is not aiming to start a price war with Airlink. “As an airline, we are continuously looking for innovative ways to be responsive to our passengers’ needs”, says Brian van Wyk GM: Commercial for SA Express. “We believe we can offer a better product at a more competitive price”, van Wyk explains. “Our studies show that there is enough passenger growth and market demand for another operator to fly these routes, and we believe that by offering competitive fares, we will stimulate demand and make these routes even more popular than they currently are.” SA Express also welcomes Airlink flying on some of its routes as the competition places the consumers at the centre and makes flying even more affordable. ‘South Africa needs a competitive market that can contribute towards economic growth and present consumers with lower fares,” continues van Wyk. The airline will be flying the turbo prop Dash 8 Q400 to Pietermaritzburg. “We have very fuel-efficient aircraft that make our cost-per-seat prices more reasonable, so we will provide a much cheaper fare than the current operators,” says van Wyk. The Turbo prop aircraft have many advantages such as reduced carbon emissions (more friendly the our environment), reduced noise with Q Technology (Q stands for Quite), outstanding passenger comfort and with comparable flight speeds to Jet aircraft (improved cruise performance). In November last year, the airline also reinforced its association with Bombardier. The manufacturer accredited SA Express as its First Commercial Approved Service Facility on the continent. “This accreditation will benefit not only SA Express, but the country as a whole, as it will create extra jobs and skills training opportunities. At company level, the appointment has increased our experience and credibility and as well as third party capabilities. We are currently performing third party work for Rwand Air, Air Uganda and LAM,” concludes van Wyk. The airline has also assembled a highly-motivated and energetic financial team, led by Zanele Ngwenya (CFO), whose primary task has been to ensure that all financial information contained in annual reports – including the 2013 one – is now accounted for according to applicable International Financial Reporting Standards.'

  • SA Express October magazine : Interesting ad - spend R100 or more at King Shaka Airport's Landside Airport & you might win a 5 day cruise on the MSC Opera with MSC Cruises for yourself and 5 buddies. Thrifty Car Rental are advertising as usual, offering for example a Hyundai H1 from R950/day. CEO of SAX, Inati Ntshanga, says that "As travellers descend on Bloemfontein for the Macufe Festival, we are honoured to be flying you into the city with our eco-friendly Dash 8 Q400 that has less impact on the environment".

  • 26 September 2013 : The Annual Report of Public Enterprises (the government department in charge of SA Express, Mango, SAA and other state-owned enterprises) is released. the report refers to the request for the Auditor-General to take over SA Express's audit function. The shareholder compact was not signed by the SA Express Board, as they wanted a downward adjustment to the fleet renewal plan because the economic climate was worsening. No corporate plan was submitted by SA Express, because of the issues with the 2010/2011 financial year. It's a reflection of the state of SA Express's accounts, that the report says that "no impairment for the current year for SA Express has been provided as the current year net asset value is not available".

  • 25 September 2013 : SA Express report a marginal profit of R650,000 and a revenue increase of 14%, but a R25m operating loss (the difference is explained by the recognition of a deferred tax asset - this hasn't been unpacked, but presumably it has to do with previous years reported profit and tax paid, which on being reaudited were changed to losses, thus too much tax had been paid). This compares to a loss of R365m in the previous year (on an operating profit of R288m). Inati Ntshanga, the CEO of SA Express indicated in an interview that "going forward we have nothing but profit". SAX 20/20 vision is the name of the SA Express turnaround strategy, which looks at the last 20 years and projects what they're going to do over the following 20 years - they've worked closely with South African Airways to ensure that the SAX 20/20 vision is aligned with SAA's LTTS. They attribute the increase in profit to increasing load factors and adding fuel levies. Fleet renewal was mentioned, and going forward they want to add a hub in East Africa, and are targetting another 6 flight routes from Durban (Maputo, Botswana, and other SADC countries). They want to use their planes more, for example flying late at night for cheaper. The full financial statements will be released sometime in October. The CEO will present them on the 27th October in parliament. What's interesting is that in a BDLive interview Inati Ntshanga indicated that "we’re looking at a funding model now where we can raise money within the market" - this wasn't unpacked, but does it indicate the possible privatisation of SA Express?

  • SA Express September magazine : Looking at South Africa's National Museums, Club Mykonos and Robben Island. Showcases SA Express flights to Hoedspruit and My Citi buses in Cape Town.

  • 23 August 2013 : SA Express add a Friday and Sunday flight to their JNB-CPT & JNB-DUR flight routes.

  • 20 August 2013 : In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association, SA Express Chief Executive Inati Ntshanga expresses his satisfaction with the Q400 planes: "the break-even load factor on the Q400 is very, very low. It’s very, very low. It’s a very good aircraft" and explains that loads factors are "probably sitting at 62% or 70%, so there’s more room for passengers especially on a small aircraft".

  • SA Express August 2013 magazine : With the Women's Day public holiday falling in August, SA Express highlighted South African women. They featured Jozi's best shopping experiences and had a look at Makalali Game Lodge.

  • August 2013 : SA Express plans to increase its Durban to Harare flight frequency to 4 a week.

  • 31 July 2013 : SA Express announces that it is offering free luggage wrapping from the 1st August to the 31st October at Cape Town, Johannesburg OR Tambo, Bloemfontein's Bram Fischer & Durban's King Shaka Airports.

  • SA Express July 2013 magazine : Thrifty Car Rental are still offering a Hyundai H1 from R950*/day. MyCiti buses are offering shuttles from the airport to Cape Town's Civic Centre for R62. The Strand Tower Hotel is advertising holiday packages from R6000 for a 7 day package. SA Express pilots and management have raised money to purchase tracker dogs to prevent the poaching of rhino.

  • 25 June 2013. "With regard to the South African Express; Out of a total 255 pilots, 208 – 81% - are white and only 47 – 9% - are black; There are 47 black cadet pilots; SAX has 123 white captains and only 3 black captains; It has 55 white Senior First Officers and 6 white Junior First Officers compared to only two black Senior and five black Junior First Officers." Malusi Gigaba on the SA Express cadet program

  • 2 June 2013. In the June 2013 SA Express magazine, they look at the Tsitsikamma Water World, Walvis Bay (SA Express flies from Johannesburg and from Cape Town to Walvis Bay) and the SA Express Graduates Programme. Thrifty Car Rental offers a Hyundai H1 from R950*/day and Thornybush a 3 night package from R9152 per person. On the 18th July the One&Only in Cape Town (which was recently voted in the top 5 African hotels in terms of service) is hosting a tqalk by a shark expert.

  • 15 May 2013. On its way from PE to King Shaka, a South African Express plane is forced to make an emergency landing at East London Airport, after developing a crack in its wind shield.

  • 3 May 2013. South Africa Express receives financial assistance of R539m from the SA government.

  • 1 May 2013. SA Express May 2013 magazine - Hogsback, Maputo & Durban in a day. Vehicle review is the BMW M6 Coupe and Kia Sorento. "It is imperative for us to increase connectivity to the Southern African Development Community region in order to grow tourism and trade opportunities." said Inati Ntshanga, Chief Executive of SAX.

  • 26 Apr 2013. SA Express reports a R187m loss for its 2011 financial year.

South African Express plane in Cape Town

 

History

  • 19 Feb 2013. South African Express changes its fuel surcharges to R765 on regional flights, R445 for Botswana flights and R383 for South African flights.

18 Nov 2012

Bombardier appoints SA Express as an authorised service facility, endorsed to provide maintenance work to operators of Dash 8-100/200/300, Q100, Q200, Q300 and Q400 turboprop aircraft; and CRJ100, CRJ200 and CRJ700 regional jets.

2 Nov 2012

South African Express Airlines launches flights from Durban to Harare. "The launch of this new route and added frequencies further underscores the importance of the Durban base and the commitment to its growth. The new air route is part of a strategy to develop sub-regional air network from KwaZulu-Natal to the 14-nation Southern African Development Community, and thus boosting the tourism and regional business development between the two countries." The flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using a CRJ 200 aircraft that can carry up to fifty pax. 

3 Sep 2012

SA Express suspends the CPT-GRJ route.

2 Sep 2012

From the 2nd September 2012, South African Express is:

- introducing a 6th daily flight on the JNB - Gaborone route

- increasing flights from JNB to George from 20 to 24 per week

- adding 4 weekly flights on the Cape Town - George route

13 Aug 2012

Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Public Enterprises, axes the SA Express Board & appoints a new one: "The auditors have since issues a disclaimer of opinion with regard to the 2010-11 financial statements. They cite numerous significant adjustments which were not substantiated with the appropriate audit evidence, reportable irregularities, and cast doubts about the going-concern nature of South African Express". The new board's members include Ezrom Mayyana, Karabo Tshailane-Nondumo, Neo Priscilla Moshimane, Shumani Tshifularo, Nosipho Gxumisa, George Mothemba and Noni Dibate.

Jul 2012

SA Express's Indwe was voted the "best regional, best African & 5th best inflight magazine in the world, by CNN International"

28 Jun 2012

SA Express commences flights from Durban to Lusaka (4 times a week). Ianti Ntshanga, the CEO, said that airline plans to fly from Durban to Blantyre, Gaborone, Lilongwe, Ntshanga & Vilankulo.

Jun 2012

South African Express announces that it will be using the latest Q400 planes on its Johannesburg to Richards Bay flight route.

Jun 2012

Jun 2012 Homeward to SA

29 May 2012

David Gleason speculates that the SA Express balance sheet has a R500m hole in it, as a result of an overstatement of the value of its fleet & rotables (items which could be restored to working order). It's reported that the Chairwoman, Lilian Boyle, describes the accounting as "complete lunacy when dealing with a depreciating asset like an aircraft".

7 May 2012

The Zambian government gives SA Express permission to fly from Durban to Lusaka from July 2012. “Lusaka is a fastest growing economy with potential for growth since it has a lot of demand and it is a preferable market for SA companies. We have developed a model to expand and use the Durban route as a footprint to expand to the Southern African Development Community region." said Lulu Bam, South African Express's communications manager.

May 2012

May 2012 Cultural Treasures

Apr 2012

Apr 2012 Robben Island

8 Mar 2012

At the opening of the Dube TradePort, President Jacob Zuma mentions that South African Express is to establish a regional hub at King Shaka International Airport, with flights to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

Mar 2012

Mar 2012 Soweto

14 Feb 2012

SA Express withdraws its 2010/2011 financial statements, as they are "inaccurate" & "unreliable".

Feb 2012

Feb 2012 Mountain Biking

Jan 2012

Jan 2012 SA Film industry

Dec 2011

Dec 2011 Festive Season

20 Nov 2011

It is reported in that the South African Express's auditors (Nkonki Incorporated) are accusing SAX management of withholding information which lead to the airline incorrectly reporting a R51m profit in the year to 31 March 2011: "It is quite clear that certain information was withheld from us and our suspicions that there is a material error in the annual financial statements have been confirmed. We also believe that a reportable irregularity has taken place. The reason for this is that management has withheld information that, had we as auditors known about it, would have caused us to have a different audit opinion to the one we expressed. We believe that this is fraud. In our opinion management was legally obligated to disclose the information which they intentionally failed to do." The detail is that R32m was incorrectly carried as a recoverable amount from the Receiver of Revenue, R16m owing from South African Airways needed to be impaired and R31m owing to SAA for fuel wasn't disclosed.

This may explain why Kameshni Naidoo resigned from South African Express in October, after barely 2 months working there.

Nov 2011

Nov 2011 SA Fashion

Oct 2011

Oct 2011 - SAX inflight magazine

Sep 2011

Sep 2011 inflight magazine

1 Aug 2011

SAX increases its JNB-Lubumbashi flight frequency from 4 to 5 a week.

Aug 2011

Aug 2011 inflight magazine

26 Jul 2011

South African Express starts flying CPT to Hoedspruit, with a CRJ 200. One flight on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays, leaving CPT at 09h30 and landing in Hoedspruit at 12h10. The return flight leaves Hoedspruit at 12h45 and lands in CPT at 15h25.

Jul 2011

Flybe, sells 3 Bombardier Q400 aircraft to Rand Merchant Bank at a price above book value. Rand Merchant Bank in turn will be leasing the aircraft to South African Express.

Jim French, the chairman and chief executive of Flybe, said that “The disposal announced today is part of our continuing process to adjust our fleet capacity in order to balance organic growth and demand across the group as a whole,”

Jul 2011

July 2011 CPT-Hoedspruit

Jun 2011

June 2011 Wedded Bliss

May 2011

May 2011 Green Zone

Apr 2011

Apr 2011 Photography

Mar 2011

Mar 2011 On Song

Feb 2011

Feb 2011 Eastern Cape

10 Jan 2011

SA Express adds Durban-Cape Town-Durban route

JOHANNESBURG, 02 December 2010.

SA Express is proud to add the Durban-CapeTown-Durban route to its convenient network, effective 10 January 2011.

The domestic and regional airline will operate the Durban-CapeTown-Durban route a minimum of 3 times daily during weekdays and 2 times a day during weekends.

In order to adequately accommodate customers who frequent this business and leisure route, SA Express has factored in frequency, availability and timing of flights in this addition to its schedule. The flights will initially be operated by a CRJ-200 aircraft.

Customers can view the full flight schedule and make a booking on flyexpress.aero.

Issued by: Dileseng Koetle
PR & Communications Manager
SA Express
+27 11 978 2540
dkoetle@flyexpress.aero
www.flyexpress.aero

Dec 2010

Dec 2010 Festive Season (SA Express inflight magazine)

Nov 2010

Nov 2010 Sun City golf (SA Express inflight mag)

17 Apr 2010

A South African Express aircraft, SAX 1753, flying from Cape Town to Windhoek carries out a successful emergency landing following failure of its nose wheel to fully extend outward.

Jan 2010

Ink Publishing produces its first version of Indwe, South African Express's inflight magazine.

Ink’s Group Publishing Director, Simon Leslie, said "We are very excited to be launching a new and improved version of South African Express’ magazine; it’s a fantastic opportunity for Ink and we intend to maximise Indwe�s value to the airline, passengers and readers. South Africa has huge growth potential and we will seek out every opportunity. Ink�s first office in Africa will open shortly in Johannesburg."

The Corporate Communication Manager and Public Relations Manager at South African Express, Dileseng Koetle, said that "South African Express needed to find a publisher that would strengthen its position as the leading regional airline in Africa by producing an innovative, quality monthly magazine. Ink’s experience and strategy for Indwe�magazine show they have a clear understanding of the direction we want to go in."

Ink Publishing produces more inflight magazines for more airlines than any other company in the world, with their airline clients include Air Macau, AirTran Airways, Bangkok Airways, bmi, bmibaby, Brussels Airlines, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Gulf Air, Jazeera Airways, Jet2.com, Jetstar Airlines, Jetstar Asia Airways, KLM, Kingfisher Airlines, Mandala Airlines, Midwest Airlines, PrivatAir, Ryanair, South African Express, Thai Airways, Tiger Airways, Thomas Cook, United Airlines, vivaAerobus, Vueling and Wizz Air.

27 Oct 2009

South African Express announces that its in-flight magazine will be published by Ink Publishing with effect from the 1 January 2010 magazine. The magazine is known as Indwe.

Ink’s Group Publishing Director, Simon Leslie, said that “South African Express needed to find a publisher that would strengthen its position as the leading regional airline in Africa by producing an innovative, quality monthly magazine. Ink’s experience and strategy for Indwe magazine show they have a clear understanding of the direction we want to go in,” said Dileseng Koetle, Corporate Communication Manager and Public Relations Manager at South African Express. Ink continues with its global expansion with the launch of its first South African title for Johannesburg-based carrier South African Express. The new monthly Indwe will be onboard in January 2010. The magazine’s front section will contain engaging articles and regular columns by respected journalists covering a wide selection of topics – culture, sport, cuisine and fine dining, hotel/lodge reviews plus gadgets and product pages – that will contain eye-catching visuals that draw the reader in. The features section will contain travel, profiles and business stories plus in-depth coverage of one of the airline’s destinations written by a local writer. We are very excited to be launching a new and improved version of South African Express’ magazine; it’s a fantastic opportunity for Ink and we intend to maximise Indwe’s value to the airline, passengers and readers. South Africa has huge growth potential and we will seek out every opportunity. Ink’s first office in Africa will open shortly in Johannesburg.”

23 Dec 2008

SAX adds 2 Bombardier CRJ-700 70 passenger jets, with its fleet now including 23 Bombardier aircraft.

6 Jun 2008

An SA Express flight, SA1009, from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein takes off without the pilot warning passengers to take their seats and buckle up, and then returns to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport as a result of a warning on the aircraft landing gear. Passengers on the flight included Welsh rugby supporters, heading to Bloemfontein for the rugby test match between the Springboks and Welsh rugby teams.

Dec 2007

The South African Express Bill provides for the transfer of South African Express shares and interests from Transnet to the South African State; and for the conversion of South African Express into a public company with share capital (a schedule 2 entity under the Public Financial Management Act, with commercial autonomy).

20 Nov 2007

Alec Erwin addresses the National Council of Provinces on the South African Express Bill.

17 Aug 2006

South African Express flight SA1601, the 0600 flight from Johannesburg to Richards Bay was diverted to Durban due to a terrorist threat at Richards Bay Airport. The flight eventually landed at Richards Bay at 0825.

23 Jun 2006

Adrian Luppnow has his complaint against South African Express Airways upheld. The ad stated '"DOMESTIC SPECIALS” and “All inclusive – NO HIDDEN TAXES”. It offers, inter alia, a flight between Durban and East London “from R423 one way', but Mr Luppnow ended up paying R862 for his SA Express flight. South African Express argued that the ad indicated prices start "from" R423. The ASA ruled that the consumer should be alerted to the fact that the actual price will not necessarily be within the vicinity of the advertised price.

24 April 1994

South African Express is established and starts its service, the same year that a democratic SA is born.


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