The creation of a pan-African airline is looking hopeful following the inking of a Strategic Partnership Framework agreement between Kenya Airways and South African Airways.The recent signing of the Strategic Partnership Framework between Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SAA) is looking positive for the establishment of a much-anticipated pan-African airline. “To boost tourism, trade, as well as social engagement, and to bolster continental integration, our national carrier Kenya Airways will join hands with partners in South Africa to establish a pan-African airline, with unmatched continental reach and global coverage,” President Uhuru Kenyatta was reported as saying during his New Year’s address. The Strategic Partnership Framework was signed by KQ’s chairman, Michael Joseph, and SAA’s chairman, John Lamola, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The agreement was witnessed by President Kenyatta and his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, during President Kenyatta’s visit to South Africa. “This cooperation aligns with Kenya Airways’ core purpose of ‘Contributing to the sustainable development of Africa’ and is based on mutual benefits. It will increase connectivity through passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, while enhancing the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). The geolocation of the two countries will make the Pan-African Airline Group attractive by creating the most formidable Airline Group that is expected to take advantage of strengths in South Africa, Kenya, and Africa,” noted KQ’s Michael Joseph in an official statement from SAA.
After a difficult period for both airlines, they remain committed to ensuring that they lead the charge in providing a solid foundation to support the eventual launch of a pan-African airline.“The partnership will improve the financial viability of both airlines by creating the most formidable air transport connection in Africa by benefiting from at least two attractive hubs of Johannesburg and Nairobi. It will ignite the Kenya and South Africa tourism circuits, which account for significant portions of the respective country’s GDP,” commented SAA chairman, John Lamola.