With South African Airways (SAA) resuming operations, Emirates has been working closely with the South African state airline to reactivate their long-standing partnership, which aims to improve the customer experience and provide more value to travellers when flying on both carriers. The move also helps cement SAA’s standing and position and will build growth momentum as the carrier initially restarts flights to six African destinations.
Emirates and SAA have been working towards increasing alignment across products, services and reactivation of synergies between loyalty programmes, and will be initially kicking off with a reciprocal commercial arrangement. The agreement includes SAA coded and Emirates-operated routes between South Africa and Dubai on a single ticket, enabling travellers to seamlessly check-in their bags to their final destinations from 1 October. Emirates will also place the SAA code on major trunk routes between South Africa and Dubai.
Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Airline, remarked on the revival of the partnership: “The partnership between Emirates and South African Airways builds on our shared commitment to providing customers more schedule choices and increased connectivity across Africa and through our growing network. We value our nearly 25 years of successful partnership with SAA and we are working hard to take more positive steps forward to continue to grow our relationship and provide our customers with even more connectivity in the future.”
SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo says, “As SAA starts to rebuild, the long-standing partnership with Emirates is both valued and critical to our future growth plans : “We share the same vision of seamless, efficient, and excellent customer service with connectivity to multiple destinations. We are confident this partnership will lead to the addition of more route and destination options, particularly across Africa as we both recognise the economic, trade and tourism potential the continent has and our key role as enablers.”
The move to reactivate the partnership also supports the recovery of South Africa’s tourism industry through facilitating enhanced connectivity for international visitors in and out of the country.
In the coming months, plans are underway to expand cooperation and solidify the partnership even further on more domestic and regional points in Africa as SAA expands its operations, while Emirates will also reciprocally add more options for SAA customers to connect to select destinations within its network on one itinerary.
The Emirates SAA partnership started in 1997, and over the last ten years more than a million passengers have flown across the joint network of both airlines, which grew to 110 destinations prior to the pandemic.
With the restoration of the SAA partnership, Emirates’ footprint across South and southern Africa offers customers more options across the continent.