In an announcement made earlier this week, Kenya Airways and private sector airline Airlink have signed an agreement that will boost their respective networks.

The travel network within Africa is set to receive a boost as Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ), has signed an interline agreement with the South African-based private sector airline, Airlink.

The deal will allow Airlink passengers access to Kenya Airway’s network of African destinations that include Bujumbura in Burundi; Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam; Entebbe in Uganda; Kigali, Rwanda; and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Meanwhile, through Airlink’s Johannesburg and Cape Town centres, Kenya Airways can now provide flights to Windhoek, Namibia; Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa; Botswana’s capital Gaborone; Maputo and Pemba in Mozambique and Maseru, Lesotho.

“The agreement presents new growth opportunities for both airlines and will strengthen aviation ties between Kenya and Southern Africa… This partnership also plays a significant role economically, improving trade exchange and spurring tourism across the continent,” said KQ in a statement.

“The agreement presents new growth opportunities for both airlines and will strengthen aviation ties between Kenya and Southern Africa.”

An Airlink carrier in Mpumalanga, October 2018

Growing African networks

KQ has also signed an agreement with Congo Airways in recent weeks that will see it enhance its cargo business.

“Together we will provide better solutions and innovations. In the future, our companies will be able to face the single air transport market as decided by the African Union,” noted Congo Airways CEO Désiré Balazire Bantu, referring to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 that aims to also realise the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement that was launched at the beginning of 2021.

In expressing his enthusiasm, Désiré highlighted that the partnership will contribute to the development of both airline companies following the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on the air transport sector. KQ, as an example, posted a 65% decline in passengers from 5.1 million in 2019 to 1.8 million in 2020.

Developments such as the IATA Travel Pass could also promote global air travel but so far, only 30 airlines including Ethiopian Air and Rwandair, are listed as having signed up to trial the pass.

Photo credits: Leonard Zhukovsky (Airlink) Sudpoth Sirirattanasakul (Kenya Airways) both via Shutterstock