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SAA stopping in Dakar?

Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 03:00
by flybywire22
Just curious, if anyone here knows why South African Airways stops in Dakar when flying from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg? The route itself is 7,068NM according to Great Circle Mapper, which should be no problem for the A340-600, with a range of 7,900NM. Also, at MTOW the Airbus says that the A340-600 can get flying in 10,000ft which shouldn't be a problem for KIAD's main runways, with 3 out of 4 being over 10,000ft.

Re: SAA stopping in Dakar?

Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 03:15
by DMM200
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't it stop on its way to IAD from JNB? That would be due to the major headwinds in conjunction with JNB's high altitude.

Re: SAA stopping in Dakar?

Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 05:58
by FJ flyer
flybywire22 wrote:Just curious, if anyone here knows why South African Airways stops in Dakar when flying from Washington Dulles to Johannesburg? The route itself is 7,068NM according to Great Circle Mapper, which should be no problem for the A340-600, with a range of 7,900NM. Also, at MTOW the Airbus says that the A340-600 can get flying in 10,000ft which shouldn't be a problem for KIAD's main runways, with 3 out of 4 being over 10,000ft.
I think it's the other way around, the plane stops at Dakar on the way to IAD. Because of Johannesburg's elevation, (5500ft) the air is thin which means the takeoff performance is low. To compensate, they reduce the fuel load meaning the aircraft won't make it to IAD non-stop.

Re: SAA stopping in Dakar?

Posted: 22 Jan 2010, 13:55
by Aaron Robinson
South African has had a few different combinations and strategies over the last few years to the U.S.:
-nonstop from both CPT and JNB, but splitting frequencies
-via SID from JNB, stopping for fuel westbound only
-via DKR from JNB, stopping in both directions
-via DKR from JNB, stopping westbound only
-no stops in either direction from JNB

There are a few reasons for the many changes:
-As mentioned, the headwinds issue westbound.
-Also mentioned, JNB's high elevation restricting takeoff performance.
-SAA's lack of continuity in leadership and focus.
-SID transferred to DKR because of the growth of West Africa and the ability to tap into that market (although U.S. airlines may end up taking this away from SAA).
-Aircraft changes on each route (A340-300, A340-600, 747-400), driven by:
-The fact that both the weather conditions and the traffic loads will vary tremendously from one season to another. That alone will justify changes.
-Finally, the existence (or not) of separate 737-800W JNB-DKR service.

Topic moved to VA Discussion, as it's about one of our airlines.