By Victor Shalton
Emirates Expands Partnership with Airlink, Increases Southern African Presence
Emirates and Airlink have announced the expansion of their existing partnership into a unilateral codeshare agreement that will allow travelers to and from South Africa convenient access to more than 40 domestic and regional destinations across 12 African countries.
Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates Airline said, “The expansion of the Emirates – Airlink partnership marks an important step forward in our relationship. Our new codeshare agreement enhances our service offering and flexibility for customers traveling beyond our gateways in South and Southern Africa and provides them unparalleled options for leisure destinations. We are committed to growing our operations in South Africa, and with the strong connection opportunities being provided collectively with Airlink we hope to help jump recovery of the local travel and tourism industry.”
He added, “Our codeshare partnership with Airlink complements the valuable relationship Emirates has with South African Airways, which we eagerly anticipate to restart once the airline is back in operation.”
The move comes barely a week after Emirates resumed its flights to South Africa and as the carrier continues to ramp up its operations to provide customers with enhanced connectivity via its gateways in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
“This exciting development is an overwhelming endorsement to Airlink. We are delighted, honoured, and privileged that Emirates Airline has chosen Airlink as its Southern Africa partner. Emirates serves all of our source markets and together we are able to provide vital air access throughout Airlink’s comprehensive network of destinations within Southern Africa, and provide much needed connectivity, linking Africa with the world and the world with Africa,” Kazim said.
“The tourism and air transportation sectors have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the associated lockdowns and travel bans, and as the world gets vaccinated, we expect the pent-up travel demand will be realised, and more customers will want to visit the special destinations that Airlink offers services to,” Rodger Foster, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Airlink, said.
Customers traveling to South Africa can now transfer from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to domestic points like Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit, Kimberley, Skukuza, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Sishen, Mthatha and Port Elizabeth as well as points across Southern Africa like Gaborone, Kasane, Vilanculos, Lubumbashi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Maseru, Antananarivo, Pemba, Tete, Maun, Victoria Falls, Walvis Bay, Maputo, Windhoek, Harare, Lusaka, Ndola, Bulawayo and Livingstone amongst many other cities.
Emirates is actively responding to the spike in travel demand across its network to make it easier for customers to connect to Dubai and beyond through the scaling up of its operations.
The airline continues to expand its presence in South and Southern Africa through building strong relationships with airline partners like Airlink and driving more connectivity options that drive value through a better experience for its customers.
Flights to and from Southern Africa have been scheduled to allow for convenient connections and additional access to Emirates’ four gateways in the UK as well as Emirates’ extensive US network. The Gulf carrier earlier increased flights to Johannesburg from daily to 11 weekly flights, with the addition of four linked flights with Durban.
Emirates also will fly to Cape Town, offering three weekly services, enabling customers flying in and out of Emirates’ three South African gateways to safely connect to an array of onwards connections to Europe, Middle East, West Asia and the United States.
The gulf carrier has also reinstated capacity on its flights to and from Lusaka (linked with Harare) and Entebbe with five weekly flights each.
The increased frequencies is in line with the easing of restrictions as Emirates will be restoring capacity across 29 cities on its network on over 270 flights as well as fine-tuning its schedules to boost frequencies and capacity as demand proliferates for international leisure and business travel.