JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — South African Airways (SAA) has received approval from the national government to bolster its fleet with six additional Airbus aircraft, a move aimed at significantly enhancing the airline's capacity. 

The expansion will facilitate the relaunch of international routes while also increasing regional and domestic services.

The six new aircraft include five A320-family jets and a long-range A330. SAA has already secured two planes, featuring the A330, from lessors, and has issued a request for proposals for the remaining four A320s. John Lamola, SAA's interim chief, expressed enthusiasm for laying the foundation for the airline's first international route since emerging from business rescue.

The forthcoming route will be unveiled in the coming weeks, according to Lamola. Both the South African finance and public enterprise ministries have sanctioned the fleet expansion, which will see all aircraft delivered to the carrier by the end of the year. The four sought-after A320s are expected to be operational by September.

Lamola emphasized the expansion's positive impact on domestic and regional markets, highlighting the airline's dedication to growing its route network and boosting frequency in Africa. He noted the enhancement in seat supply and traffic flow would greatly benefit passengers.

Having entered business rescue in 2019, SAA underwent extensive restructuring before successfully emerging in 2021.