In a year in which Africa’s airlines continue to struggle against the long impact of Covid-19, the stakes are particularly high for two of the continent’s biggest airlines, which are tentatively pooling their resources in a fight to survive.
Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SAA) signed a Strategic Partnership Framework in South Africa last November, which if implemented, is expected to improve the financial viability of the two carriers by cutting costs, increasing the size of the available fleet at their disposal through code sharing, and potentially leading to a new pan-African airline group by 2023.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told his listeners during his New Year’s address that KQ and SAA will “join hands” to overcome the economic difficulties they both face. Through the arrangement, tourism, trade, and social engagement in Africa can be boosted, he said. Spokespersons from the airlines have denied that a full merger is on the cards but have talked up the planned cooperation.