Select Page

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS: Flying direct, Perth/Johannesburg from 28 April 2024

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS: Flying direct, Perth/Johannesburg from 28 April 2024

South African Airways (SAA), a Star Alliance member, has had this Perth/Johannesburg route on its agenda for a while but has recently tweaked the timings in response to customer feedback.

The route is scheduled to commence on Sunday, 28 April 2024, with the first flight from Johannesburg to Perth. It will run three times a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Perth to Johannesburg will also run three days per week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but the timings have changed.

a person surfing on a wave

Changes to Perth/Johannesburg departure times

The outbound flight from Johannesburg remains as scheduled in the January 2024 announcement, leaving Johannesburg at 8:55 pm and arriving in Perth at 12:20 pm the following day. But the Perth to Johannesburg flight has had a dramatic change in timing. It moves from a same-day flight, leaving Perth at 2:40 pm and arriving the same day in Johannesburg at 7:35 in the evening, to a late night near midnight departure, arriving before dawn the next day in Johannesburg.

Here are the new flight timings:

  • SA280 departs Johannesburg t 8:55 pm (Tue, Thu & Sun), arrives Perth 12:20 pm + 1 day (Flight time = 9 hrs 25 min)
  • SA281 departs Perth 11:50 pm (Mon, Wed & Sat), arrives Johannesburg 4:45 am + 1 day (Flight time = 10 hrs 55 min)

This means that both flights are overnight. SAA argues that the new timings allow for better regional connections, especially for customers connecting from New Zealand and other mainly East Coast cities.

The new timings mean that aircraft will be spending quite a bit of time at Perth Airport, which doesn’t seem the most efficient use of these expensive machines

Existing customers (or travel agents) will be contacted by the airline, with passengers on the departing flight from Perth being accommodated on the same day as their current booking. If you can’t wait for that, or the re-scheduling will inconvenience you, then here are the contact numbers:

  • Johannesburg +27 11 978 1111
  • Perth on +61 2 9286 8960

For more information, visit

Let’s hope they have their overnight sleeping amenities up to scratch, especially in Business Class.

a large white airplane flying in the sky
Airbus A340-300, South African Airways [Flickr]

Flight Experience on Perth/Johannesburg route

This will be the first opportunity to fly directly between Australia and South Africa in over a year since Qantas abandoned the route in March 2023.

However, don’t expect a relatively new Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be whisking you away. It’s going to be a long-range Airbus A340 with 38 lie-flat business class seats 21″ wide with 73″ pitch in a dated 2-2-2 layout over 2 cabins. Economy Class consists of 215 seats 18″ wide, with 33 to 34″ pitch and a 5″ recline in a 2-4-2 layout.

Business Class passengers can expect seats with individual power points, and you will get a ‘soft duvet’, large pillow and ‘padded seat cover’ for these overnight flights. No Pajamas seem to be on offer – so it’s BYO. You will get an amenity kit, noise cancelling headphones, a welcome drink, à la carte dining, and a South African cheese board plus wine – I’m presuming South African.

Back in economy, you also get a pared down amenity kit consisting of socks, eyeshades and a toothbrush and toothpaste. For families, there are kids’ meals and a kids’ entertainment channel

a group of airplanes at an airport
South African Airways, O. R. Tambo International Airport , Johannesburg, Sought Africa [Adobe iStock]

Background and future flights

South African Airways is still recovering from its collapse during COVID-19 after various rescue and privatisation plans. In June 2021, the Takatso Consortium took a 51% stake in the airline, while the South African Government retained the other 49%.

The Perth route sees the airline’s return to its second international route after a service to Sāo Paulo, Brazil, starting in October 2023.

ET is reporting that SAA has plans to return to London and Frankfurt routes soon, once some newly leased long-range aircraft arrive, with a possible Airbus A350 also in the mix.

Lounge Access for Perth/Johannesburg route

Qualifying Star Alliance Gold members and Business passengers will have access to the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines Airport lounges in Perth. In Johannesburg, you have a choice between the Platinum Lounge at Terminal A for international travellers or the Premium Lounge. At the Domestic Termain B is the VIA Platinum & Premium Lounge. There is also the O.R. Tambo Arrivals Lounge, directly after Customs Control (only for passengers who flew on SAA-operated flights. The lounge operating times are 04h 30m – 12h 30m. That should mean it’s available for eligible passengers arriving from Perth.

a diagram of a seat

2PAXfly Takeout

It’s great to see South African Airways getting back on its feet with this Perth/Johannesburg route, especially for international destinations.

I have a long-held aim to visit South Africa, and more specifically, the islands of the coast, including Madagascar and Mauritius. SAA’s return to international flying gives me some options.

Qantas flies from Sydney to Johannesburg using a 787 Dreamliner, but this will be replaced, boosting capacity, with an Airbus A380 super jumbo in late September. That will ramp up capacity and bring First Class to the route. Maybe that is the time to fly!

The downside is that this service will no longer be daily. That’s the price of the increased A380 capacity, I suppose.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Previously . . .

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates about 2PAXfly.

Reviews, deals, offers, and most of all opinion will be in your inbox.

We won't spam you, and we won't share your details with others.

Newsletter Regularity

You have Successfully Subscribed!