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South African Airways (SAA) and Kenya Airways want to look into a long-term goal of co-starting a Pan-African airline group. The two airlines are signing a memorandum of co-operation in this regard, SAA announced in a statement on Tuesday. The view is that such a Pan-African airline group could, in time,” enhance mutual growth potential by taking advantage of strengths of the two airlines’ busy hubs”.
However, the pact does not restrict either airline from considering commercial cooperation with other carriers as part of its route network strategy. The next step for both sides is to form a collaborative working group to further discuss the MoU and put processes in place to achieve their shared goals.
SAA resumed domestic commercial flights on September 23 and regional services on Tuesday after being in business rescue from December 2019 to April 2021. When the rescue practitioners revealed that there was no money to maintain business operations, SAA halted air travel in May of last year. Part of SAA’s bigger expansion plan, according to interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo, is to become a key player in regional travel and facilitate business and trade across the continent.
This is expected to be aided by the cooperative pact with Kenya Airways. Working with Kenya Airways, according to Kgokolo, would also help to harness internal resources and capacities, resulting in long-term and cost-effective expansion. This comprises shared services in the areas of route networks, fleets, maintenance, and repair, as well as economies of scale prospects. The pact, according to Kgokolo, will also benefit both countries’ tourism economies.
For Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka, the future of aviation and its long-term sustainability is hinged on partnership and collaboration.
“Kenya Airways and South African Airways collaboration will enhance customer benefits by availing a larger combined passenger and cargo network, fostering the exchange of expertise, innovation, best practices, and adopting home-grown organic solutions to technical and operational challenges,” said Kilavuka.