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AIRLINK and Safair have announced plans to unite under the umbrella of a new Airlink Group of companies.
An application for approval will be made to the Competition Commission tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov 28), and a decision is expected in the first quarter of 2018.
The plan is for Airlink to purchase Safair in its entirety. However, the plan is for both Airlink and FlySafair and Safair’s other businesses, including its humanitarian aid flights, to continue to operate separately under their own brands. The airlines also plan to retain their respective products, aircraft fleets, management and leadership teams. No job losses are foreseen.
Airlink CEO and MD, Rodger Foster, says: “Airlink’s acquisition of Safair, which is financially robust and profitable, makes good business sense. It presents opportunities to reduce our combined costs, position ourselves for growth, while at the same time increasing connectivity and choice while making air travel accessible and affordable for our customers across Southern Africa. Our combined networks will enable us to connect 37 destinations in nine Southern African and Indian Ocean countries and St Helena. This will stimulate and enable trade, tourism, economic growth and social development in those markets we serve.”
Safair CEO, Elmar Conradie, who will remain in his post, says: “Coming under a single umbrella will create economies of scale that will enable both airlines to share costs, optimise assets and remove systems duplications. This will position the new Airlink Group for future growth.”
Foster says the Safair purchase will not affect Airlink’s existing SAA franchise partnership. Safair’s international shareholder, ASL Aviation Holdings, will become a minority shareholder of the Airlink Group. The proposed new ownership structure will also see Airlink continue to meet and in future exceed Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment targets.