South African Airways (SAA) and TAAG Angola Airlines have reached a code-share agreement on their direct flights between Johannesburg and Luanda and Cape Town and Luanda, despite a long-overdue debt of more than R1bn for airline tickets between SAA and a number of southern African countries, including Angola.
Under a code-share arrangement, each airline sells tickets and schedules flights under its own brand and flight number. Although a ticket is bought from either airline, it is operated by only one of the two.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said the issue of repatriation of funds from Angola had nothing to do with the commercial decision taken by SAA because it saw value in expanding its relationship with TAAG.
He said networks played an important role in the operations of any airline in that they furthered their mandate and commercial interests. “In response to customer demand to reach destinations of their choice for business or leisure travel, airlines deploy aircraft from their fleet and operate on such routes or enter into code-share agreements with other carriers.”
The agreement with TAAG starts on January 15.
In August 2017, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba admitted that SAA faced serious revenue management challenges, resulting in it being owed more than R1bn in fees from certain governments.
SAA said on Wednesday that, in return, TAAG would codeshare with SAA on its direct services between Johannesburg and Luanda and would include Johannesburg and Harare, Johannesburg and Lusaka, and Johannesburg and Hong Kong in the near future.
SAA and TAAG formed an interline relationship in 1996, allowing the acceptance of each other’s customers and access to each other’s networks. Interline agreements facilitate travel for those who fly on more than one airline to reach their destination. The relationship expanded into a commercial partnership in 2007, with SAA operating the flights for TAAG between Luanda and Lisbon in Portugal. At the time, SAA operated the flights on behalf of TAAG.