British Airways signs codeshare agreement with South Africa’s Airlink

British Airways A380 lands at sunset.
Blake Cracknell / Shutterstock

British Airways (BA) has signed a new codeshare partnership with South Africa-based regional airline Airlink. 

Both airlines aim to improve connectivity between the UK, Europe, North America and more than 15 destinations in Southern Africa, the UK flag carrier said in a statement.  

BA’s customers travelling from or transiting through London Heathrow (LHR) will be able to connect to their destination via Cape Town (CPT) or Johannesburg (JNB) on a single ticket, the statement highlighted. This includes options for passengers continuing on to destinations such as Windhoek in Namibia and Durban (DUR) in South Africa. 

“Our flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg continue to be as popular as ever with our customers, so we’re pleased to be able to open up more options in the Southern African region,” said Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances. 

Airlink’s CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster described joining the networks of both airlines as a mutually beneficial “marriage”. 

“This is an important next step in our partnership with British Airways, which has a phenomenal global reach into the most important markets for our region. The marriage of our two networks will benefit both British Airways’ and Airlink’s customers, giving them even more choice with a wide range of itinerary options and connectivity possibilities,” Foster said.  

BA currently operates two daily flights between LHR and JNB with A380 aircraft, two daily flights between LHR and CPT with B777 and A350 aircraft, and three weekly flights between London Gatwick (LGW) and CPT with B777 aircraft. 

A new South African airline partner after Comair’s collapse? 

The new partnership between BA and Airlink could prove to be a good move for BA following the end of its partnership with the now defunct Comair. 

Comair, which was established in 1946 as a South African aviation and travel group, entered into a franchise agreement with British Airways in 1996. The agreement entailed Comair servicing local and regional routes under the British Airways livery. 

British Airways cancelled its franchise agreement with Comair after the South African airline operator halted its flights and filed for liquidation in June 2022. 

Comair was estimated to have held a share of around 40% of South Africa’s domestic aviation market. 

However, following the end of its partnership with Comair, airlines such as South African Airways were among parties interested in partnering with the UK airline. 

Speaking to News24 on September 2, 2022, SAA chief executive John Lamola confirmed that the Johannesburg-based airline had shown its interest in operating domestic and regional flights to various destinations in South Africa. 

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