British Airways reveals new African partner

British Airways has confirmed a new partnership with a major regional player in Southern Africa. The agreement between BA and Airlink was announced on February 8 and is aimed at improving connectivity across the carrier’s respective networks.


Airlink, which was established in 1992 is an independent, privately-owned carrier. It describes itself as a “premium, regional airline”, and operates from bases in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Although it is best known for its flying programme in South Africa, the carrier serves cities in 14 countries, including Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

In total, 18 destinations in Africa are covered by the new arrangement, with other cities understood to be pending government approval and, according to British Airways, “might join the codeshare agreement at a later date”.

The deal will restore BA’s onward connectivity in the region which was badly damaged by the collapse of Comair Limited in June last year. The South African carrier operated scheduled services on local routes as a British Airways licensee. The company also flew as a low-cost carrier under its own brand.

Airlink is based in South Africa, but operates in 14 different countries across the region
Airlink is based in South Africa, but operates in 14 different countries across the region British Airways

Rodger Foster, Airlink’s chief executive and managing director, said: “This is an important next step in our partnership with British Airways, which has a phenomenal global reach into the most important markets for our region. The marriage of our two networks will benefit both British Airways’ and Airlink’s customers, giving them even more choice with a wide range of itinerary options and connectivity possibilities.”

The agreement means BA passengers travelling from or transiting through London will have the ability to connect to their final destination via Cape Town or Johannesburg on a single ticket. At the time of writing, the UK flag carrier flies twice-daily between Heathrow and Johannesburg with Airbus A380s, twice-daily between Heathrow and Cape Town with Boeing 777 and A350s, and thrice-weekly between Gatwick and Cape Town with 777s.

Neil Chernoff, director of network and alliances at BA added: “Our flights to Cape Town and Johannesburg continue to be as popular as ever with our customers, so we’re pleased to be able to open up more options in the Southern African region.”

British Airways confirmed to Key.Aero that Executive Club travellers will be able to earn Avios when flying on Airlink flights, so long as they are on a BA codeshare journey.