By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Kenya Airways, Kenya’s flag carrier, jointly signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with South African Airways (SAA) concluding an important milestone to jointly launch a pan-African airline group by 2023.
The partnership follows the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) that both companies signed 2 months ago in search of promoting the exchange of knowledge, expertise, innovation, digital technologies, and best practices between the 2 companies.
The signing of this agreement will see both companies working together to expand passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and overall trade, thereby leveraging the strengths of South Africa, Kenya, and Africa.
The partnership is expected to improve the financial viability of both airlines. Customers will also benefit from more competitive pricing offers for the passenger and cargo segment.
On the occasion of the signing, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his South African host, President Cyril Ramaphosa, were in attendance on the second day of President Kenyatta’s 3-day state visit to South Africa. The strategic partnership agreement was sealed by Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph and SAA Chairman John Lamola in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The partnership is in line with the ambitions of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA) to provide a single market for goods and services, eased by the movement of people and goods to deepen economic integration and prosperity on the African continent.
As reported by our partner Aeroin, the agreement also includes the recovery of demand and other cost restraint strategies that will help both airlines recover in an increasingly competitive African air market.
Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph, while speaking at the signing ceremony, said:
”This cooperation is in line with Kenya Airways’ primary objective of contributing to the sustainable development of Africa and is based on mutual benefits. It will increase connectivity by increasing passenger traffic and cargo opportunities while improving the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA). The geographical location of the two countries will make the Pan-African Airline Group attractive, creating the most formidable Airline Group that should leverage the strengths across South Africa, Kenya, and Africa.”
Both companies remain committed to their financial recovery strategy. One of the key pillars to achieve this is to share and combine assets to provide a stronger and more competitive airline environment that will pursue the commercial viability of the 2 companies.
”The partnership will enhance the financial sustainability of both airlines by creating air transport connectivity, by benefiting from the two hubs based in Johannesburg and Nairobi. It will boost Kenya and South Africa’s tourism circuits, which comprise a significant part of both countries’ GDP,” SAA Chairman John Lamola said on his part.