Emirates has expanded its co-operation with South African regional operator Airlink into a full codeshare partnership.

Airlink began operating flights under its own brand last year after the end of a long-standing franchise agreement with national carrier South African Airways (SAA).

Airlink livery Embraer 190 November 2020

Source: Airlink

Dubai-based Emirates began interlining with Airlink in October last year and is now turning the co-operation into a full codeshare agreement. That covers 40 domestic and regional flights, connecting to Emirates’ services into Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Emirates chief commercial officer Adnan Kazim says: ”The expansion of the Emirates-Airlink partnership marks an important step forward in our relationship.. 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 jumpstart the recovery of the local travel and tourism industry.”

The UAE carrier has had a codeshare with SAA for more than 20 years, although that has been on hold since the South African airline was forced to suspend operations amid major financial restructuring last year, though it has taken a step towards to resuming flights after its operating licence was restored.

”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,” says Kazim.

For its part, Airline chief executive Rodger Foster describes the codeshare as an “overwhelming endorsement”. 

”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,” says Foster.

Airlink operates a fleet predominantly of Embraer regional jets and turboprops.