Emirates has entered into a partnership with FlySafair, South Africa’s largest domestic airline.
The latest interline agreement allows Emirates passengers to connect with airports in Port Elizabeth, East London, and George. Travellers won’t have to book connecting flights separately. It also allows Emirates travellers the option of departing from FlySafair’s domestic points when returning to Dubai.
An interlink agreement also usually means that the airlines will handle the check-in and baggage for each other’s passengers, so you only need to check in once for connecting flights on either airline.
Flight bookings will be handled by Emirates and travel agencies.
Qatar Airways also recently entered into a similar agreement with FlySafair.
Emirates’ latest interline agreement comes at a critical time for South Africa’s travel industry. With the country shutoff to visitors during the height of the global coronavirus pandemic – between April and September – airlines have begun to look at strategic international partnerships as a way of resuscitating the industry and recouping losses incurred while under lockdown.
“As of November, we will be operating at our full capacity again, which will see us operating just over 75% of the available domestic seat capacity in South Africa,” said Kirby Gordon, the Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair. “International traffic is still very limited given the various restrictions in place, but we are happy to report that there has been a slow and steady uptick in the volumes of flights we are selling through our connection agreements like that with Emirates.”
Shortly after resuming its South African operations in early October, Emirates signed an extensive interline agreement with Airlink. The Johannesburg-based airline has a broad Southern African network, flying to 25 destinations beyond South Africa. Airlink’s fleet, which consists of more than 50 aircraft, now connects Emirates passengers to Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and others.
Emirates’ partnerships with Airlink and FlySafair coincide with uncertainty surrounding the future of South Africa’s national carrier. South African Airways (SAA), which maintains a codeshare agreement, frequent flier benefits and interline agreement with Emirates, is in the throes of a protracted business rescue programme.
Business Insider SA