South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Saturday, said its government is looking forward to resuming direct flight operations between South Africa and India.
While addressing a business forum in India, Ramaphosa said that he doesn’t understand why that route was dropped in the past.
“This rigmarole of traveling, going to Dubai, Europe, London as you got to South Africa has to come to an end,” the President said. “We also bemoan that, but we would like nothing better than to see South African Airways having a direct flight to India once again.”
Ramaphosa said the government needs to open pathways for people to travel with greater ease between India and South Africa.
According to News24, the controversial Gupta family influenced SAA back in 2015 to relinquish its route to India to Indian airline Jet Airways. It was former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor who revealed to the state capture commission that the Guptas offered her the post of Public Enterprises minister and in return they wanted her to drop the SAA flight route to India in favor of Indian airline Jet Airways.
Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan, who was a part of Ramaphosa’s delegation to India, said the government needs to have an overall look at SAA’s operations. He revealed that the South Africa-India route was lost owing to the state capture project.
“There was a direct route [and] it was stolen from South Africa,” Gordhan said adding, “We’ve got to look at that in the overall context of SAA; when we get back home, we will evaluate that clearly.”
He acknowledged that the government needs to reinstate the route to tap huge tourism opportunities.
“There is a lot of push to have it reinstated, we will try our best to do so, there are huge tourism opportunities,” added Gordhan.