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May 25, 2024
British Airways inks partnership in South Africa
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British Airways announced a codeshare partnership with Airlink, improving connectivity between the UK, Europe, North America, and more than 15 destinations in Southern Africa.

British Airways’ history in South Africa runs deep – it was the first market flown by the Comet in May 1952.  More recently South Africa’s Comair was the sole licensee of the BA brand and below is their sole MAX8 before the airline went bankrupt.  ch-Aviation reports Comair is suing Boeing over this MAX deal.

British Airways currently flies twice daily between London Heathrow and Johannesburg using A380s, twice daily between London Heathrow and Cape Town with a 777-200 and A350-1000,  and three times per week between London Gatwick and Cape Town with a 777-200.  This remains an important market for BA.

Selecting Airlink as a codeshare partner is therefore important to close the gap created by the absence of Comair. Airlink’s CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster, said: “This is an important next step in our partnership with British Airways, which has a phenomenal global reach into the most important markets for our region. The marriage of our two networks will benefit both British Airways’ and Airlink’s customers, giving them even more choice with a wide range of itinerary options and connectivity possibilities.”

What is not mentioned in the announcement is the impact this will have on Airlink.  Airlink has a fleet of over 60 Embraers.  That is good, but probably not to the scale BA needs – the codeshare opens 18 markets from the UK.  Airlink has been considering upsizing to larger single-aisle aircraft.  But a concern is the growth in seat capacity exceeding market growth.  There are creative options, for example, leasing A320s from BA to be deployed in South Africa on a seasonal basis. 

author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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