Kenya Airways – that country’s national flag carrier – and South African private-sector regional airline Airlink have concluded an interline agreement. This will give passengers seamless access to the networks of both operators, when booking flights with either one of these airlines.
“As global economies continue to reel from the effects of the [Covid-19] pandemic, such strategic partnerships are critical,” highlighted Kenya Airways acting chief commercial officer Julius Thairu. “These new routes will positively impact the flow of trade and tourism across the region by offering our customers convenient travel around the continent.”
For Airlink, it will allow it to provide its customers with through tickets to Nairobi and beyond to the Kenyan carrier’s network of African destinations. These include Bujumbura (Burundi), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Entebbe (Uganda), Kigali (Rwanda) and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).
In return, Kenya Airways passengers will be able to book through tickets on Airlink’s South African and Southern African network, via Johannesburg and Cape Town. This includes destinations such as Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, Gaborone (Botswana), Maputo and Pemba (both in Mozambique), Maseru (Lesotho) and Windhoek (Namibia).
“The agreement presents new growth opportunities for both airlines and will strengthen aviation ties between Kenya and Southern Africa,” affirmed Kenya Airways in its statement. “This partnership also plays a significant role economically, improving trade exchange and spurring tourism across the continent.”
Kenya Airways flies to 41 destinations across the world, of which 34 are in Africa. Airlink serves more than 30 destinations spread across ten African countries, plus (when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted) St Helena island. Kenya Airways normally carries more than four-million passengers every year, and the figure for Airlink was (in 2019) more than two-million. Last year Airlink was determined (by Airports Company South Africa) to be South Africa’s most punctual airline, while the World Travel Awards named Kenya Airways as Africa’s Leading Airline for that same year