The partnership between the Kenya Airways (KQ) and the South African Airways (SAA) is expected to start in 2023 to form a Pan-African Airline that will enable continental reach and global coverage.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his new year address to the nation confirmed that the two airlines will combine operations to form a new carrier in bid to expand their global coverage as well as stem the massive losses incurred from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To boost tourism, trade, and social engagement; and to bolster continental integration; our national carrier Kenya Airways will join hands with our partners in South Africa to establish a Pan-African Airline,” said President Kenyatta.
During a visit to South Africa in September last year, the president witnessed the signing of a strategic partnership framework between the two airlines to form a Pan-African Airline.
Kenya Airways, had experienced a grim full-year performance due to Covid-19 crisis. the airline made a net loss of Sh11.48 billion in the six months to June 30, 2021, down from a net loss of 14.32 billion in the same period last year.
The SAA resumed operations in September last year after grounding all commercial flights in March 2020 and had ceased all cargo flights and repatriation flights since September 2020 due to the travel restrictions that were imposed by different countries occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic which affected most airlines globally.
In three years from 2018, the SAA had made losses amounting to over 113 billion even despite receiving 355 billion of Government support between year 2004 and 2020.
The partnership is expected to increase passenger traffic, trade and cargo opportunities for both countries. This will improve the financial viability of both airlines and deliver more competitive pricing for passengers and cargo customers.
The Pan African Airline is expected to begin operations in 2023.