Africa’s intricate air connectivity was reduced as Independent regional airline Airlink today launched a new direct three-times-weekly service between Johannesburg and Luanda, Angola. The service is operated with a 98-seat Embraer E-190. Airlink Chief Executive Officer Rodger Foster was represented by Executive Manager Corporate Services for Airlink, Namhla Tshetu said the Luanda-Johannesburg route is strategically important for Angola and South Africa.
“It is crucial to trade and commerce between our two countries. It is a route they had wanted to launch for some time. However, COVID-19 and the measures introduced to combat the spread of the infection turned everyone’s plans upside down. The South Africa-Angola corridor had been underserved given its crucial commercial and economic importance. By establishing this service, she said Airlink was providing customers with more affordable competitive choices on the route, adding that this would benefit businesses and stimulate commercial activity between the two cities and countries. The Luanda-Johannesburg route is strategically important for Angola and for South Africa. It is crucial to trade and commerce between the two countries“.
Tshetu disclosed that the COVID-19 infection rate in both countries is improving every day and the pace of vaccinations is picking up, bringing with them the prospects of increased travel, tourism, commerce along with economic recovery and sustainability.
“It is a cause that Airlink is committed to promoting and we look forward to playing our part in this story. Our newest route is a perfect example of how air services will enable our two countries, with our different cultures, to pursue a shared objective of generating business opportunities and diversifying our economies. The development of a sustainable business and leisure tourism sector will play a key role in this”.
By stimulating economic growth in this way, she reiterated that air connectivity between Angola and South Africa has the potential to promote investment and unlock job opportunities which will help both countries meet the social challenges they both face.
“It is one thing offering seats on an aircraft flying between two cities, but to realise their full potential, these flights need to be convenient and affordable to customers. Airlink’s flights on this route will provide greater choice and flexibility to customers needing to travel or wanting to transport goods between our two countries. This will promote competition while reducing the costs of doing business for our customers”, she added.
In the same vein, flights between Luanda and Johannesburg are scheduled specifically to provide convenient onward connections by Airlink to key markets in South Africa and across the Southern African Development Community group of nations. According to Tshetu, “It may surprise many of you to learn that, from its bases in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Airlink now serves more than 45 destinations in 13 African countries, which now includes Angola. In addition, we have forged partnerships with several leading long-haul operators, which has opened up the worldwide market for our customers”.
“A vital component is customer confidence in international and intra-African travel, which was severely damaged by the uncertainties that have characterised international travel over the past 19 months. While public health authorities have focussed on slowing the rate and spread of COVID-19 transmission, Airlink, together with its service providers, including airports, have put in place measures to ensure that flying is safe for all of its customers and employees”.
She further stated that the carrier operates modern aircraft in which the cabin air is continually replenished with fresh air, stressing that the aircraft is also equipped with high-efficiency particulate filters that are proven in removing over 99 percent of all harmful particles.
“Similarly, we stringently adhere to all of the World Health Organisation, International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Air Transport Association recommended measures and standards. In addition, we comply with national civil aviation legislation and regulations. Our partners who operate airports and provide support services all strive to be equally diligent in this regard. To sum up, passengers can fly with Airlink in total confidence”.