Kenya Airways and South African Airways have partnered with a long-term goal of co-starting a pan-African airline group.
The two airlines signed a memorandum of co-operation that will enhance mutual growth potential between the two carriers.
KQ managing director Allan Kilavuka highlighted the partnership’s significance in turning around the fortunes of both KQ and SAA.
“The future of aviation and its long-term sustenance is hinged on cooperation. KQ and SAA collaboration will enhance customer benefits by availing a larger combined passenger and Cargo network, fostering the exchange of expertise, innovation, best practice, and adopting home-grown organic solutions to technical and operational challenges,” he said.
He said the pursuit of partnerships is one of the core strategic pillars that shall transform the airline by ensuring its financial viability while offering world class services in Africa and the world.
SAA’s interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo noted that working with Kenya Airways will also harness internal resources and capacities leading to sustainable and cost-effective growth.
“This cooperation, which includes demand recovery and other cost containment strategies, will aid recovery of both carriers in an increasingly competitive African airline environment,” he said.
He said it will also enhance related Kenya and South Africa tourism circuits, which sectors account for significant portions of respective country growth domestic product, benefiting from at least two attractive hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi and possibly Cape Town.
“KQ and SAA, as iconic airline brands of Africa’s biggest and vibrant economies, in East Africa and Southern Africa respectively, are at the precipice of what could be Africa’s formidable Pan African airline,’’ he said.
The agreement does not, however, preclude either of the airlines from pursuing commercial co-operation with other carriers within their route network strategy.
Now, SAA and KQ aim to ride on the fact that the respective South African and Kenyan governments recognise them as strategic national assets.
SAA, which was in business rescue from December 2019 to April 2021, started domestic commercial flights again on 23 September and kicked off regional services again yesterday.
SAA stopped commercial flights in May last year when the rescue practitioners indicated that there were insufficient funds to continue with commercial operations.