Kenya Airways (KQ) and South Africa Airways (SAA) have entered a memorandum of cooperation with a longerterm view to costarting a PanAfrican Airline Group.  This is with the aim of enhancing mutual growth potential between the two carriers.

This cooperation is expected to have mutual benefits for the two airlines. These benefits include strategic positioning in global aviation, diversifying earning streams, and reinforcing regional partnership in Africa through diplomatic and commercial relations
. This will see an increase in passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and general trade by taking advantage of strengths in South Africa, Kenya, and Africa al large.

According to KQ, they remain committed to its financial turnaround strategy. The pursuit of partnerships is one of the core strategic pillars that shall transform the airline by ensuring its financial viability while offering world class services in Africa and the world.

The respective Kenyan and South African governments recognise KQ and SAA as strategic national
assets. They are committed to providing an operating environment that will allow for commercial agility
and flexibility, shared access to domestic and international markets for the carriers’ mutual benefit.

Mr. Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, had this to say, “The future of aviation and its longterm sustenance is hinged on cooperation. KQ and SAA collaboration will enhance customer benefits by availing a larger combined passenger and Cargo network, fostering the exchange of expertise, innovation, best practice, and adopting homegrown organic solutions to technical and operational challenges.”

SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo noted that “This cooperation, which includes demand recovery and
other cost containment strategies, will aid recovery of both carriers in an increasingly competitive African
airline environment. It will also enhance related Kenya and South Africa tourism circuits, which sectors
account for significant portions of respective country growth domestic product, benefiting from at least
two attractive hubs in Johannesburg, Nairobi and possibly Cape Town. KQ and SAA, as iconic airline
brands of Africa’s biggest and vibrant economies, in East Africa and Southern Africa respectively, are at
the precipice of what could be Africa’s formidable Pan African airline.’’

Kgokolo added that collaboration will also assist both airlines in the current and postpandemic business
and travel environment. This he says involves, joint recovery strategies and other cost containment
strategies that will aid recovery of both carriers in an increasing competitive African airline environment.
This agreement does not offer an exclusivity that precludes either of the airlines from pursuing
commercial cooperation with other carriers within the current route network strategy.

As a key driver of economic growth, the aviation sector enables quick movement of passengers and
cargo, leading to increased economic activity, generating direct and indirect employment. The
recognition of this significance to economic development is the impetus behind the cooperation.

This cooperation also seeks to address the significant contraction witnessed in the history of the air
transport market in the wake of COVID19. The African air transport market is estimated to be 50% of
2019 (preCOVID19), and the situation is expected to last for at least three years.