SAA and KQ expand pan-African airline alliance with new codeshare partnership

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Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SAA) have signed a codeshare agreement to expand their destination networks, building on their September 2021 venture to form a Pan-African airline by 2023.  

The codeshare agreement will see each airline sell, under its own code, flights operated by both carriers, according to a press statement released by Kenya Airways

“Passengers travelling out of South Africa will have more options to travel to African destinations including Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Mombasa, and Kisumu while KQ passengers will have more choices for travel into Southern Africa including Cape Town, Durban, and Harare immediately,” said KQ in the statement. 

“The growth of the partnership will see the addition of Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Juba, Douala, Lusaka Ghana and Nigeria subject to government approval as the airlines seek to offer more options for travelers within Africa,” the statement continued. 

Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways CEO and group managing director, said; “As part of our Strategic Partnership Framework, we will contribute to making it easier for passengers to reach exciting new destinations within Africa. The additional destinations we believe will offer better customer journey thanks to the number of frequencies and connections created as well as many opportunities for trade and tourism. “ 

Back in September 2021, Kenya Airways and South African Airways signed a memorandum of cooperation that included a long-term plan to start a Pan-African airline group. 

The new airline is expected to begin operations in 2023. 

Professor John Lamola, interim CEO of South African Airways, commented on SAA’s development into East Africa. 

“Through the codeshare agreement with Kenya Airways, South African Airways’ valued clientele will gain new travel choices to markets across East Africa via Kenya’s extensive network and hub in Nairobi, providing for seamless travel and status recognition,” said Lamola in the Kenya Airways statement. 

According to Kenya Airways’s statement, KQ and SAA signed a Strategic Partnership Framework in November 2021, to work together to increase passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and general trade by taking advantage of strengths in South Africa, Kenya, and Africa.  

“This codeshare agreement builds upon an existing special prorate agreement which was signed earlier this year (2022),” the statement said. 

Partnerships have been gathering momentum as Africa’s aviation sector navigates its post-pandemic recovery and the issue of high fuel and oil prices.  

The partnership between KQ and SAA to establish a pan-African airline has been a significant indicator and driver of consolidation movements across the continent.   

However, the two legacy carriers are looking to partner with a West African airline to support a multi-hub strategy to enhance connectivity across the African continent.   


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