Airlink splits from SAA

Airlink has announced it will be ending its partnership with SAA and will operate independently from 11 June 2020. Airlink will operate under its own flight code ‘4Z’.

In a statement, Airlink said: ‘This decision represents an important milestone in extending the commercial reach of the airline in its own right.’ The partnership between SAA and Airlink has been redefined by placing the franchise agreement with a new commercial arrangement which will come into effect on 11 June 2020.

‘Where in terms of the franchise, flights operated by Airlink carry the “SA8” flight designator, under the new commercial arrangement, they will operate as Airlink’s unique “4Z” code. The new agreement will enable a seamless transition with minimum inconvenience to customers.

‘The change marks a new era in the long-standing commercial agreement with SAA. While SAA remains an important strategic pillar in Airlink’s strategy, the new arrangement gives Airlink the freedom to extend its commercial reach, develop more routes and frequencies on an independent basis and extend or establish additional agreements with other leading international airlines.’

‘Marketing and selling flights under our own 4Z code is an exciting development for Airlink as we propagate our business and take advantage of new market opportunities. At the same time, we will be able to strengthen our vital partnership with SAA,’ said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

‘While we  intend working with SAA’s business rescue practicitioners to find a solution that enables SAA to continue playing its important role in the Southern African market, we have a  responsibility to take action to preserve Airlink’s viability as a financially-robust, independent and privately-owned airline. However, should SAA’s circumstance worsen, then Airlink will activate the transition sooner – immediately, if necessary,’ said Foster.

 

What the changes mean for ticket holders

To operate independently, Airlink is obliged to switch from using the “SA8” flight code and “083” ticketing code to its unique “4Z” prefix.

This transition has been implemented and is effective as from 11 June 2020 when all Airlink inventory and flights will have the “4Z” designator.

Tickets already in issue for travel on flights with “SA8” flight numbers will remain valid for travel subject to being re-accommodated.   Airlink will work with travel agents, tour operators and customers to expedite the re-accommodation.

Customers holding SAA 083 tickets for flights after 10th June, who prefer not to be re-accommodated, may seek a refund through SAA, which will manage it in line with its business rescue policies.  Depending on how customers purchased their ticket, they may also be able to pursue other available refund avenues e.g. credit card companies or insurance.

In the meantime, Airlink will continue to sell tickets for flights operated on the SA8 code up to 10 June 2020.  These are available through travel agents, tour operators, on both the www.flyairlink.com, and www.flysaa.com as well as all other online booking platforms.

 

Image: Heléne Ramackers 

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