Two independent South African aviation groups, Airlink and Safair, will apply to the Competition Commission tomorrow, for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies.

The plan will include both the Airlink and low-cost Safair airlines, as well as Safair’s other businesses, such as humanitarian aid flights, continuing to operate under the individual brands, separately.

Both airlines will keep their respective products, aircraft fleets, management and leadership teams. There will be no risk of employees losing their jobs with the merger.

“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,” explained Airlink CEO and managing director Rodger Foster in a statement.

“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.”

“Coming under a single umbrella will create economies of scale that will enable both airlines to share costs, optimise assets and remove systems duplicaitions. This will position the new Airlink Group for future growth,” said Safair CEO Elmar Conradie.

The proposed new ownership structure will see Airlink continuing to meet broad-based black economic empowerment targets. According to the statement, the Safair purchase won’t affect Airlink’s existing SAA franchise partnership.

More details will follow once the Competition Commission has made its decision, which is expected to be during the first quarter of 2018, according to the statement.

Photography Unsplash

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