Emirates has signed a unilateral codeshare agreement with South African airline Airlink, giving access to over 40 domestic and regional destinations across 12 African countries.

This comes as Emirates resumes its flights to South Africa. According to Emirates, the new deal will “offer competitive fares, combined ticketing, and seamless baggage transfers” when connecting between the two airlines.

Customers travelling to South Africa can now transfer from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to domestic destinations such as Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit, Kimberley, Skukuza, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Sishen, Mthatha and Port Elizabeth.

They will also be able to visit areas across Southern Africa such as Gaborone, Kasane, Vilanculos, Lubumbashi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Maseru, Antananarivo, Pemba, Tete, Maun, Victoria Falls, Walvis Bay, Maputo, Windhoek, Harare, Lusaka, Ndola, Bulawayo and Livingstone.

Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates, said:

“The expansion of the Emirates – Airlink partnership marks an important step forward in our relationship. Our new codeshare agreement enhances our service offering and flexibility for customers traveling beyond our gateways in South and Southern Africa and provides them unparalleled options for leisure destinations. We are committed to growing our operations in South Africa, and with the strong connection opportunities being provided collectively with Airlink we hope to help jumpstart the recovery of the local travel and tourism industry.”

He added that the expanded partnership with Airlink complements the airline’s existing relationship with South African Airways, which it hopes to restart “once the airline is back in operation”.

Rodger Foster, CEO and Managing Director at Airlink, added:

“This exciting development is an overwhelming endorsement to Airlink. We are delighted, honoured, and privileged that Emirates Airline has chosen Airlink as its Southern Africa partner. Emirates serves all of our source markets and together we are able to provide vital air access throughout Airlink’s comprehensive network of destinations within Southern Africa, and provide much needed connectivity, linking Africa with the world and the world with Africa.

“The tourism and air transportation sectors have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the associated lockdowns and travel bans, and as the world gets vaccinated, we expect the pent-up travel demand will be realised, and more customers will want to visit the special destinations that Airlink offers services to.”