Monday, September 19, 2011

South African Airways, Johannesburg to Houston, December 1982

The mash-up of an apartheid era jumbo jet donning a cowboy hat could only mean that the state carrier of South Africa was landing in Texas. In 1982, SAA (which at the time also went by its Afrikaans-translated initials, SAL) undertook an ultra long haul, B747SP service from Johannesburg Jan Smuts to Houston Intercontinental.

However, the wingéd Springbok's lengthy leaps to the Lone Star state would be short-lived, even without the effects of the 1986 Anti-Apartheid Act of Congress that banned all South African carriers from the United States. SAA would return later to American shores, migrating slowly northward from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta and finally settling on the Star Alliance superhub at Washington Dulles.

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