Fasten your seatbelts, please….

It was way back in March last year the undercarriage finally fell off SAA, leaving us all wondering what would ever rise from the ashes. And then 6 months ago, a new acting CEO got appointed, Thomas Kgokolo, who has enough capital letters after his name to inspire a high level of confidence in clearer skies ahead. Then again, coming off a base of zero, all he has to do is break even and the entire tax-payer base will give him a standing ovation!

But here’s a fabulous data-fuelled insight that should give Mr Kgokolo, and everyone else in travel, a much-needed shot in the arm. Every year in BrandMapp, we measure how much flying everyone’s doing. Back in 2020, before the airports emptied out, 40% of middle-class-and-up adults said they’d been airborne in the past year, and another 17% had flown overseas.

In 2021, we had to ask the question differently: what flights do you expect to take in the coming year? So we measured appetite against past behaviour. What we found is astonishing. 60% of respondents said they were expecting to fly locally and 29% can’t wait to go through passport control.

In short, when it folds away the tray tables again on September 23rd and gets ready for takeoff, let’s hope that the NEW SAA has tons of chicken or beef at the ready. It looks as if we’re in for an unprecedented travel boom when the boarding gates reopen.

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