As the Doha-based airline continues its unrelenting drive toward growth and development, the latest initiative to be declared is a codeshare deal with Airlink of South Africa. Let’s take a closer look at what this deal means for both carriers involved.
Qatar Airways has declared
Qatar Airways has declared the latest in a series of tie-ups with other carriers by announcing a new codeshare deal with Airlink of South Africa. In a strategic move that will enhance its passengers’ onward connection possibilities through its three gateways across southern Africa, the new deal marks the next stage in Qatar’s development.
Allowing passengers to connect seamlessly between 45 destinations in 13 countries across southern Africa and the rest of the world, this new deal is likely to be a win-win for both airlines involved and passengers alike.
According to Qatar Airways, the new deal will provide passengers traveling on the two carriers with more choices, enhanced services, and greater connectivity between the city pairs now linked through the codeshare agreement.
Flights operated by Airlink from Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban will carry the ‘QR’ flight code of the larger carrier. All passengers traveling under the codeshare scheme will be afforded the simplicity of purchasing connecting flights on both airlines operating a single reservation with seamless ticketing, check-in, boarding, and baggage check experience across their entire journey.
Qatar Airways currently offers 21 direct weekly flights from Doha to Johannesburg, ten weekly flights to Cape Town, and four weekly flights to Durban. From South Africa, travelers traveling under the new codeshare deal with Airlink can connect easily to destinations across six continents via Doha's Hamad International Airport, recently voted by Skytrax as the 'World's Best Airport.'
The Qatari-based carrier predicts that popular destinations linked under the new deal will include connections between the three cities in South Africa with popular destinations in the United States served by Qatar Airways such as New York and Dallas, cities in Europe such as London, Copenhagen, and Barcelona, and points across Asia including Manila, Jakarta, and Cebu.
The deal with Airlink also enhances Qatar Airways’ footprint across southern Africa, with improved access to destinations such as Ggeberha (Port Elizabeth), Hoedspruit, Skukuza, George in South Africa, and beyond to countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The new codeshare flights are already on sale, with codeshare services commencing on July 6th, 2022, subject to government permission.
“Expanding our network with Airlink gives our customers more choice of destinations and flights, which we hope will contribute to the rapid recovery of travel, which plays such an important role in southern African economies. We have increased our presence in the African market by adding eight new destinations since the start of the pandemic and fostering partnerships such as this dynamic deal with Airlink, which will greatly enhance our offering to our customers and support travel and trade.”
“This development is an endorsement of Airlink’s relevance to providing air access to the total region through our expansive network of destinations, which creates unparalleled connectivity opportunities when considered in conjunction with Qatar Airways’ global reach.
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As southern Africa’s leading airline, Airlink provides comprehensive, safe, and reliable air transportation services, enabling socio-economic development by connecting people and facilitating trade within the region and beyond.”
- Qatar Airways appears proud of its development on the African continent in recent years and southern Africa in particular. The airline was the only carrier to continue operations in southern Africa during the pandemic and its immediate aftermath, allowing for the movement of goods, medicines, and essential travel between the region and the rest of the world.
Qatar Airways was the only airline to launch new services in southern Africa
Qatar Airways was the only airline to launch new services in southern Africa after the pandemic, starting operations in Luanda, Harare, and Lusaka last year. It resumes operations in Windhoek this month, providing another connection to Airlink’s extensive regional network via eight regional gateways.
Airlink has itself become a force in its own right across southern Africa as it enjoys its newfound freedoms since parting ways with its national carrier, South African Airways. According to the airline, it is a privately-owned, premium, the full-service regional airline serving a comprehensive network of destinations throughout Southern Africa.
The airline works under the 4Z flight code, with a fleet of around 50 aircraft working to more than 45 destinations in 13 African countries, along with St Helena Island in the South Atlantic. Airlink boasts to be the most punctual Southern African airline with an on-time performance consistently better than 95%.
According to ch-aviation, the active Airlink fleet comprises the following aircraft types –
- BAe Jetstream 41 (2)
- Embraer EMB-135LR (15)
- Embraer EMB-140LR (11)
- Embraer EMB-170-100LR (2)
- Embraer EMB-190-100AR (16)
Daily flight between Doha and London’s Heathrow Airport
In the meantime, Qatar Airways continues to make on its promise of serving more countries and city pairs as the pandemic fades into memory and the propensity to travel returns. The airline just recently declared the return of a 6th daily flight between Doha and London’s Heathrow Airport from mid-July.
The airline has also just celebrated the most profitable year in its history. Despite all the challenges of working in the post-COVID environment, the Group recently declared a record annual profit of $1.54 billion, the best performance in its 25-year history.
Indeed, this figure was some 200% higher than its next-best performing year, showcasing the airline’s efforts to stay money-making even through the worst of the post-pandemic chaos. Qatar Airways puts this strong performance down to its agility and the successful strategy of maintaining a focus on the requirements of its customers.
With new aircraft continuing to arrive in its fleet, the broadening of its network, new codeshares coming onstream, and possibly even the potential for said in the long-running legal dispute with Airbus, everything appears to be heading on an upwards trajectory for the Qatar-based mega-carrier.
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