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Kenya Airways Partners With South Africa’s Airlink

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Kenya Airways is teaming up with South Africa’s Airlink in the form of an interline agreement. This agreement will allow for a combination of Kenya Airways/Airlink itineraries, allowing passengers from one airline to connect to additional destinations on the other carrier’s network.

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SA Airlink customers can reach additional destinations across Africa with this agreement. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

“These new routes will positively impact the flow of trade and tourism across the region by offering our customers convenient travel around the continent,” -Julius Thairu, Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Kenya Airways via The Star

Broadening networks

Through this agreement, Kenya Airways customers will be able to access a number of new destinations in the Southern Africa region via Airlink hubs at Johannesburg and Cape Town.

At the same time, Airlink customers from across the Southern Africa region (includes South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and more) will be able to access Kenya Airways’ destinations across Africa. Let’s look at some example destinations:

  • Airlink destinations now available to Kenya Airways travelers: Windhoek, Durban, Gaborone, Maseru, Pemba, Maputo, Port Elizabeth, and more.
  • Kenya Airways destinations now available to SA Airlink travelers: Accra, Addis Ababa, Entebbe, Kigali, Lagos, Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura, Kinshasa, and more.
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38% of Kenya Airways’ fleet is comprised of Embraer E190 regional jets. Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr 

Staying on the continent

One interesting thing to note about this agreement is that it does not include Kenya Airways’ broader intercontinental network and overseas destinations. In Europe, Kenya Airways flies to Amsterdam, London, and Paris, while also going as far as Guangzhou, Bangkok, and Mumbai in the East. The carrier has also been operating service to New York in recent years.

Unfortunately for Airlink customers across the Southern Africa region, this new agreement is limited to Kenya Airways destinations within Africa.

This limitation makes sense, however, when you consider SA Airlink’s existing interline agreements with Air France, British Airways, KLM, Emirates, Lufthansa, United, and more. To include Kenya Airways’ European and Asian destinations would certainly conflict with the destinations of these other airlines.

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Embraer regional jets make up the majority of the Airlink fleet. Photo: Bob Adams via Wikimedia Commons 

Not quite a codeshare

While this new partnership will see the airlines working together, it’s not quite the same as a codeshare. In fact, this “interline agreement” is a more basic form of partnership than a codeshare, which will allow each airline to have the other carrier’s flights booked on the same itinerary. This will allow for smoother check-in, seamless connections, and included baggage transfer.

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Kenya Airways has 12 Boeing 737s, making up just over 30% of its fleet. Photo: Alan Wilson via Wikimedia Commons 

Codeshare agreements would take this to the next level, with one airline operating a flight on behalf of the other using their flight code. This typically allows for frequent flyers on one airline to collect points/miles and redeem flights on the other carrier while at the same time benefitting from other loyalty status perks.

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What do you think of this new partnership? Have you flown on either carrier before? Let us know in the comments.

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