The fleet in September 2009 consisted of 9 Airbus A340-600, 6 Airbus A30-200, 6 Airbus A340-300e, 11 Airbus A340-100 and 17 Boeing B737.
The airline was founded in 1934 by the South African government. The company continued to developed its flight network until the Second World War broke out. Most of the fleet was then assigned to the Air Force, with took part in fighting in Ethiopia. Civilian air traffic was difficult to operated due to the small number of aircraft and in 1940 ceased altogether.
Only in the last years of the war were a few routes resumed. In 1945 the Springbok line was inaugurated connecting Johannesburg to London. A little later, the flight plan was further developed to include Australia and South America.
Due to the apartheid regime, South African Airways was denied rights to fly over many African countries in 1963. Thus, the airline was forced to fly around Africa along the West coast which resulted in increased fuel consumption. It needed to stopover in Luanda, Las Palmas and Lisbon. Not until 1991, which marked the end of the apartheid regime, did relations return to normal with the other states in Africa so that new routes could again be integrated into the timetable.
South African Airways offers flights to over 20 destinations in Africa, making it one of the leading airlines on the continent. In addition to destinations in Africa the airline also operates flights to destinations in Europe, Australia, Asia and America, for example to Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and New York.