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Airline set to fly solo

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The partnership with South African Airways (SAA) had been redefined and their franchise agreement had been replaced with a new commercial arrangement

AIRLINK has announced that it has broken off its partnership with South African Airways and will operate independently under its own “4Z” flight code from June 11, 2020.

According to the company, this decision is an important milestone in extending the commercial reach of the airline.

“Selling seats on flights under the ‘4Z’ flight code will enable Airlink to develop more routes and frequencies on an independent basis, as well as extend opportunities to establish new agreements with leading international airlines,” it said in a statement issued yesterday.

Airlink added that the partnership with South African Airways (SAA) had been redefined and their franchise agreement had been replaced with a new commercial arrangement from June 11, 2020.

“Where in terms of the franchise, flights operated by Airlink carry the ‘SA8’ flight designator, under the new commercial arrangement they will operate as Airlink’s unique ‘4Z’ code. The new agreement will enable a seamless transition with minimum inconvenience to customers,” it stated.

According to Airlink, the change marks a new era in the long-standing commercial agreement with SAA. “While SAA remains an important strategic pillar in Airlink’s strategy, the new arrangement gives Airlink the freedom to extend its commercial reach, develop more routes and frequencies on an independent basis and extend or establish additional agreements with other leading international airlines.”

From June 11, 2020, all Airlink flights will operate using the “4Z” designator and all tickets for those flights will be available through travel agents, tour operators and online at www.flyairlink.com.

Tickets already issued for travel on flights with “SA8” flight numbers from June 11, 2020 will remain valid subject to re-accommodation by Airlink.

Customers holding SAA 083 tickets for flights after June 10, who do not want to be re-accommodated may apply to SAA for a refund or through other channels, such as the credit card issuer used for payment or insurance. SAA refunds will be managed in line with its Business Rescue policies.

“Marketing and selling flights under our own 4Z code is an exciting development for Airlink as we propagate our business and take advantage of new market opportunities. At the same time, we will be able to strengthen our vital partnership with SAA,” Airlink CEO and managing director, Rodger Foster, said.

“We sincerely regret any short-term inconvenience these changes may cause for our customers. This represents the best way to ensure we continue serving all our passengers in a seamless manner, whilst also securing the best interests of Airlink, its customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders for the future,” added Foster.

“While we intend working with SAA’s Business Rescue practicitioners to find a solution that enables SAA to continue playing its important role in the southern African market, we have a responsibility to take action to preserve Airlink’s viability as a financially-robust, independent and privately-owned airline. However, should SAA’s circumstance worsen, then Airlink will activate the transition sooner – immediately, if necessary.”

In the meantime, Airlink will continue to sell tickets for flights operated on the “SA8” code up to June 10, 2020. These are available through travel agents, tour operators, on both the www.flyairlink.com, and

www.flysaa.com as well as all other online booking platforms.