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AIR TRAVEL : SA Leads Sky-Commerce with World First Aircraft Tracking and Real- Time Payment Innovation


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South Africa leads sky-commerce with world first aircraft tracking and real-time payment innovation; SAA first airline to activate globally
South African Airways (SAA) this week becomes the first airline globally to install the SatAuth (Satellite Authorisation Systems) solution. The system, first installed on the airline’s cabin trainer for testing in May last year, will not only allow secure credit card transactions anywhere in the skies but also provide pin-point accurate aircraft tracking services for operational purposes. South African Airways Technical (SAAT) developed the testing and engineering procedures for airline maintenance facilities around the world.

SAA today installed the device on one of its Airbus A340-300 aircraft (Registration: ZS-SXE) at the SAAT maintenance facility in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. “SAAT engineers worked closely with the developers of the solution,” says SAAT CEO Musa Zwane, “to ensure certification and engineering procedures, ultimately realising the usability of the product within an aviation environment.” The system will allow for secure credit card transactions at any point and real-time positioning of any flight, anywhere, impacting fuel saving interventions in-flight as well as providing full visibility of actual flight paths versus planned routing at any time. SatAuth is the first product of its kind, developed in South Africa.

SAAT will manufacture all major aircraft components required for installation of SatAuth in accordance with the international Aviation Certification standards required for installation. “This provides SAAT with substantial commercial impetus with a new revenue stream,” says Zwane. “Today’s installation is the first of its kind in the world and marks a new milestone in South African avionics engineering; it’s another affirmation of the quality, skill and expertise that SAAT offers in terms of its aircraft maintenance and overhaul facilities.”

Installation of the solution can be done during a standard ‘A-Check’ – a regular overnight maintenance procedure that occurs every 200-400 cycles (take offs and landings). “SatAuth will provide an economical and secure transaction environment. As a truly South African innovation, the solution would not have reached this milestone without the dedicated support of the SAA Avionics engineers who took it upon themselves to assist us in guiding the SatAuth Solution through the numerous certification requirements so endemic to the aviation industry,” says Paul Roux founder and CEO of the SatAuth solution.

SAA plans to install SatAuth across its entire long-haul fleet over time.


About South African Airways (SAA)

South African Airways (SAA) is the leading carrier in Africa, serving 57 destinations, in partnership with SA Express, SA Airlink and its low cost carrier, Mango, within South Africa and across the continent, and ten intercontinental routes from its Johannesburg hub. It is a member of the largest international airline network, Star Alliance. SAA’s core business is the provision of passenger airline and cargo transport services together with related services, which are provided through SAA and its wholly owned subsidiaries: SAA Technical; Mango its low cost carrier; and Air Chefs, the catering entity of SAA. SAA is the winner of the 'Best Airline in Africa’ Award in the regional category for twelve consecutive years and the winner of ‘Service Excellence Africa’ for three years. Mango and SAA hold the number one and number two successive spots as South Africa’s most on - time airlines.

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