Ousted Madagascar leader Marc Ravalomanana was boarding a South African Airways plane Saturday to return home after nearly three years in exile, a spokesman said.

He is about to climb onto the plane and is departing out of the state protocol lounge. The airline has said they will allow him to board, a spokesman for the former president told Reuters.

The plane is scheduled to depart at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) and is expected to land in the capital Antananarivo at 3 p.m. (1200 GMT).

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Tim Pearce)