President Kenyatta said in his New Year’s address said: “The move will enable continental reach and global coverage.”
“To boost tourism, trade, and social engagement; and to bolster continental integration; our national carrier Kenya Airways will join hands with our partners in South Africa to establish a Pan-African Airline,” he said.
Uhuru visited South Africa late last month, and it is expected that the Kenya Airways deal with South African Airways was reached during his two-day tour.
Both Kenya Airways and South African Airlines had bad years due to COVID-19. South African Airways only returned to operation in September
Prior to September 23, the airline had not flown any commercial flights since March 2020.
In three years, starting 2018, South African Airways told the country’s Parliament that it had made R16 billion in losses over that period.
This came on the back of revelations that the airline had received R50 billion of Government assistance between 2004 and 2020.
On November 24, Kenya Airways and South African Airways signed a strategic partnership framework in South Africa, in a move that would see the two carriers eventually form a Pan-African carrier.
The signing happened on the back of an official visit by President Uhuru to South Africa.
The joint airline is expected to begin operations in 2023.
Since South African Airways is part of the Star Alliance and Kenya Airways part of the competing Sky Team Alliance, it will be interesting to see the position of the new carrier.
Star Alliance includes Africa-based Ethiopian Airlines and Egypt Air.
Connecting Africa has always been a challenge and at the same time a great economic opportunity.
The news about Pan African Airlines jumped to the top discussion in the African Tourism Board WhatsApp Group today. Josef Kafunda, a tourism leader and a World Tourism Network Hero from Namibia posted: More prosperity in Africa!
The planned Pan African Airlines is not affiliated with an airline by the same name based in Nigeria and owned by the Bristow Group. They mainly provide helicopter and fixed-wing services to the oil industry.