Qatar Airways partners with SA's Airlink to connect flights in the region

Business Insider SA
Tail fin of a Qatar Airways plane
  • Qatar Airways, by some estimates the world's biggest airline, has entered into a partnership with South Africa's Airlink.
  • Privately-owned Airlink was in a partnership with SAA for more than 20 years, which came to an abrupt halt earlier this year.
  • Qatar’s agreement with Airlink will allow passengers to book connecting flights through one of the airlines.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider South Africa. 

Qatar Airways, by some estimates the world's biggest airline, has entered into a partnership with local airline Airlink.

Privately-owned Airlink was in a partnership with SAA for more than 20 years, an arrangement that allowed SAA to sell tickets and fly passengers on Airlink flights. 

But earlier this year, Airlink terminated its franchise agreement after SAA went into business rescue and failed to pay over more than R700 million of revenue for tickets issued on flights flown by Airlink.

See also | EXPLAINER: How SAA landed in such a mess

Qatar’s so-called "interline agreement" with Airlink will allow passengers to book connecting flights through either of the companies. Travellers won't have to book connecting flights separately. 

An interlink agreement also usually means that the airlines will handle the check-in and baggage for each other’s passengers, so you only need to check in once for connecting flights on either airline.

The airlines said the agreement will provide Qatar passengers from across the world seamless connectivity via Cape Town and Johannesburg to Airlink's more than 20 regional destinations in Southern Africa, including Gaborone, Maun, Tete, Port Elizabeth, Lusaka, Harare and Victoria Falls.

“We are confident that the relationship will deliver enhanced travel options to customers given the designed interconnectivity that will be enabled at OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport,” says Airlink CEO Rodger Foster.

Qatar Airways vice president for Africa, Hendrik du Preez, said that the global carrier is “delighted to sign this interline agreement with Airlink to further expand our network in the region connecting passengers to more than 25 domestic and more than 20 regional destinations".

"With the borders in South Africa being closed for five months, we are thrilled to re-enter the market with additional connections in South Africa and beyond, ” added Du Preez.

South Africa closed its borders in March, as part of its lockdown to fight Covid-19 in the country. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the reopening of South Africa's borders for leisure travellers in mid-September.

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