Kenya Airways and South African Airways (SAA) have signed a codeshare agreement as the two African carriers begin to deepen commercial ties.
The airlines announced a planned partnership in September 2021 and finalized an agreement two months later. The framework seeks to increase passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and trade.
The new codeshare arrangement covers services to Cape Town, Dar Es Salaam, Durban, Entebbe, Harare, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi, effective immediately.
The airlines plan to expand the partnership to Douala, Juba, Kilimanjaro, Lusaka and Zanzibar, subject to government approval, as well as adding destinations in Ghana and Nigeria. Further codeshare points are also being evaluated.
“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,” Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said.
This codeshare partnership builds upon an existing special prorate agreement which was signed earlier this year.
Kenya Airways and SAA are also exploring ways to enhance co-operation on their respective frequent flyer programs, including reciprocal earning and redemption opportunities and benefits such as lounge access.
Speaking at the CAPA Leader Summit in April, Kilavuka said the airline industry in Africa needs a period of consolidation and more cooperation between carriers if the continent is to overcome its connectivity challenges.
“The continent is very fragmented from an airline perspective,” he explained. “We have so many airlines and my personal view is that we need consolidation.
“That’s therefore what we’re working on. We’ve started discussions with all the major airlines in Africa, particularly our neighbors.”
Kilavuka added: “The idea is to see how you can use assets from each airline to increase productivity and have a two or three hub strategy that will encourage this large continent to connect to each other.”
In June, Kenya Airways and Delta Air Lines expanded their codeshare partnership to include additional markets within the US and increased flights within Africa, offering travel options to 19 cities in Africa and 25 cities across the US and Canada.
Kenya Airways will place its KQ code on Delta services from New York John F Kennedy (JFK) to Boston, Buffalo, Norfolk, Rochester, and Syracuse for customers travelling on its Nairobi (NBO)-New York JFK service.
Delta will add its DL code to Kenya Airways’ additional frequencies on Accra (ACC)-Freetown (FNA) and Monrovia (ROB)-Nairobi services.