Kenya Airways and South African Airways have signed a preliminary cooperation agreement with a longer-term perspective to set up a pan-African airline group.
The two African airlines signed the memorandum in Johannesburg today, which they hope will support the operators’ recovery from Covid, but also longer-term cooperation plans.
Thomas Kgokolo, interim chief of SAA, says the next step is to set up a joint working group to further discuss the memorandum and put systems in place to achieve the stated goals. The agreement is not exclusive, so both carriers can enter into further collaborations.
Both the SkyTeam airline Kenya Airways and the Star Alliance operator SAA have faced financial difficulties in recent years that were exacerbated by the Covid crisis. Kenya Airways is still waiting for plans to nationalize the airline to be finalized, while SAA only resumed fighting earlier this month after a year-long absence while it completed a major restructuring
Kgokolo says the collaboration will help both airlines in the current and post-pandemic business and travel environment. This, he says, includes joint recovery strategies and other “cost containment” strategies that will help both airlines recover.
âPart of our broader growth strategy is to not only be a strong local airline, but also to become a major player in regional travel, and this joint memorandum with Kenya Airways, one of the strongest and most respected airlines on the continent, will do just that âAdds Kgokolo.
âIt will also improve related tourism circles in Kenya and South Africa, sectors that are a significant part of their respective countries’ domestic growth products and benefit from at least two attractive hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi and possibly Cape Town. KQ and SAA, the iconic airlines of the largest and most dynamic economies in Africa, in East Africa and in southern Africa respectively, are on the brink of Africa’s formidable pan-African airline. ”
Allan Kilavuka, CEO of Kenya Airways, added: âThe future of aviation and its long-term existence depend on partnership and collaboration. The collaboration between Kenya Airways and South African Airways will improve customer benefits through the use of a larger combined passenger and cargo network. “
He says the connection will help improve the customer experience by offering a wider range of destinations, as well as standardizing product and service offerings.