Airlink and Safair, two South African aviation groups, are planning a merger under an umbrella of the Airlink group.

The move is anticipated to create economy of scale for the Airlink group, by sharing costs, optimizing assets, offering more flight destinations using shared networks, and removing system duplications.

Under the agreement, Safair group, including its LCC FlySafair and various other businesses such as humanitarian aid flights, would become part of Airlink, but sustain its brands, products, aircraft fleets and personnel. No job losses are foreseen at the moment and Elmar Conradie, the CEO of Safair and Rodger Foster, the CEO & MD of Airlink are to keep their roles.

“Airlink’s acquisition of Safair, which is financially robust and profitable, makes good business sense,” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster. “It presents opportunities to reduce our combined costs, position ourselves for growth while at the same time increasing connectivity and choice while making air travel accessible and affordable for our customers across Southern Africa”.

As part of the merger, Safair shareholder ASL Aviation Holdings would become a minority shareholder of the Airlink Group of companies.  The deal would not affect Airlink’s existing SAA franchise partnership.

Under South African law mergers and acquisitions of this nature need to be approved by the Competition Commission. The companies anticipate the Commission’s decision by March 2018.