South African Airways (SAA) was honoured to bring Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi back home aboard its brand new Airbus A350-900 from New York on Saturday.
Her sparkling presence aboard SA204 added excitement on 15-hour journey between New York and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg as customers interacted and took pictures with her.
“SAA is more than an airline, we – as Zozibini – are African first. We are a proud carrier of Africa’s hopes and dreams and its unlimited potential, which leaves us bursting with pride as we welcome our daughter back home and celebrate her global success,” said Zuks Ramasia, SAA’s ACEO.
“Our crew described the opportunity to fly a South African born Miss Universe as one of their proudest and memorable experience, one that will remain an indelible highlight in their careers,” said Ramasia.
SAA flew Zozibini back to South Africa as one of the “Homecoming” partners to showcase pride, patriotism and embrace African heritage.
In December, she flew SAA to Sao Paolo to participate in the Miss Universe contest as arranged by the Miss SA Pageant organisers.
The 25-year-old student hails from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape. She was crowned Miss Universe 2019 after previously being crowned Miss South Africa 2019. She is the third woman from South Africa to win the title, and the first black woman since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011.
SAA will fly the homegrown beauty queen back to New York where she lives during her reign as Miss Universe. On her return trip, she will again travel on the state-of-the-art aircraft, of which SAA has four in its fleet.
Like Zozibini, customers can enjoy the airline’s four A350s superior features such as a quieter cabin and relaxing in-flight experience including the all-new In-flight Entertainment (IFE), extra-legroom seats in Economy Class and lie-flat beds in Business Class.
The aircraft, which is environmentally friendly, with improved fuel-efficiency can fly further than any other aircraft in commercial service.
The introduction of the A350s will contribute to SAA’s operational efficiencies and cost reduction, and forms part of the ongoing fleet renewal programme. For example, through the A350s, we will lower our operational costs, and save on our fuel consumption by 25% and also lower our maintenance costs by 40% over a five-year period.