South Africa Airways names new airbus after Mandela

Johannesburg- South Africa (PANA) -- South African Airways (SAA) Friday presented former President Nelson Mandela with a surprise birthday present by naming its new Airbus after him.
"From now, our first Airbus 340-600 will be called "Nelson Mandela," SAA President and CEO, Andre Viljoen announced.
Mandela is 85 today.
The airline said the gesture symbolised the transformation he had brought to South Africa, which had impacted on the airline.
Mandela was also treated to a spectacular flypast over his residence in Houghton, Johannesburg by the airbus.
The airline said the gesture symbolised Mandela's life of always holding his head high on principle, and for having taken South Africa to greater heights.
"We believe that whenever this aircraft, the Airbus A340-600 'Nelson Mandela,' is parked at international airports or it is flying in South Africa and across the world, it will remind everyone of what Mr Mandela stands for: progressive change, courage and great leadership," Viljoen added.
SAA also offered Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, unlimited free first class flights on all destinations serviced by the airline.
The airline in conjunction with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is also showing the former President's birthday video clip on its domestic and international flights.

18 july 2003 14:23:00

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