Partnership reboot to play in favor of both Emirates and SAA growth plans

Shutterstock/Francois De Bruyn

South African Airways and Emirates Airlines have re-engaged an old codeshare partnership in a bid to enhance connectivity for the carriers’ passengers.

The partnership, which will commence from October 1, 2021, plays in favor of both carriers’ expansion plans and looks to reignite operations on popular routes between South Africa and Dubai. The deal, which focuses on improving customer experience, aims to expand passengers’ access to travel options while flying on both carriers, according to a joint statement from the airlines.

On the back of travel uptick and growing momentum in tourist demand as borders reopen, Emirates revealed its intent in recent weeks on ramping up operations to South Africa. 

The Gulf carrier, which recently unveiled its first A380 with a full “nose-to-tail” livery in promotion of Dubai Expo 2020, announced on September 8, 2021, that daily services operated by its A380 fleet to Johannesburg, would commence from January 1, 2022.

Commenting on the codeshare reboot, Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates Airline Adnan Kazim highlighted the airline’s partnership longevity which spans nearly 25 years.

“The partnership between Emirates and South African Airways builds on our shared commitment to providing customers more schedule choices and increased connectivity across Africa and through our growing network,” said Kazim.

First signed in June 1997 and the first-ever codeshare agreement that Emirates shared with another airline, the partnership has brought a range of success to both carriers over the years. In 2018, about 90,000 passengers benefited from the airlines’ partnership.

“We value our nearly 25 years of successful partnership with SAA and we are working hard to take more positive steps forward to continue to grow our relationship and provide our customers with even more connectivity in the future.”

The revival comes at a crucial time for South African Airways as the flag aims to expand its connectivity following its recent relaunch of operations.

Adding to the benefits of the reboot, SAA interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo is confident that the partnership will play a crucial role in expanding the South African flag carrier’s domestic and regional destination options.

“As SAA starts to rebuild, the long-standing partnership with Emirates is both valued and critical to our future growth plans,” said Kgokolo. “We share the same vision of seamless, efficient, and excellent customer service with connectivity to multiple destinations. We are confident this partnership will lead to the addition of more route and destination options, particularly across Africa as we both recognize the economic, trade and tourism potential the continent has and our key role as enablers.”

With a fleet of eight aircraft, South African Airways is keen to utilize the momentum of its relaunch and tap into the demand the airline has received for regional and intra-continental flight services.

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