Privately owned airline, Airlink, will operate services linking Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, Entebbe, Ndola and Luanda after February 29.

This follows news yesterday (Thursday, February 6) that the national carrier, SAA – and Airlink’s franchise partner – will cut 11 routes by that same date.

“We want to reassure travellers that as far as Airlink is concerned, it is business as usual!   Our schedule and operations are unaffected by SAA’s latest network cuts,” said Rodger Foster, Airlink CEO and MD.

He reiterated that Airlink had been operating flights to Entebbe on SAA’s behalf and would continue these services without disruption after February 29. 

Currently, Airlink operates two flights a day to Ndola, which will allow travellers booked on SAA’s own flights to be re-accommodated on Airlink after February 29 with no interruption.

Airlink recently secured traffic rights to operate daily direct flights to Luanda. It will commence this service after February 29.

“Our flights will operate under the ‘SA8’ flight code until June 10, after which they will be operated under Airlink’s unique ‘4Z’ code. ‘4Z’ tickets are already available through travel agents, tour operators and online,” added Foster.

Tickets already issued for travel on SAA flight numbers on these routes, after February 29, will remain valid, subject to re-accommodation by Airlink. Customers holding those tickets may apply to SAA for re-accommodation on to Airlink’s flights. Those who do not want to be re-accommodated, may apply to SAA for a refund in line with its Business Rescue refund policies. 

Foster further clarified – following confusion in media reports – that Airlink was completely independent and was not to be confused with the state-owned feeder airline, SA Express, which the Johannesburg High Court ruled should be placed in business rescue.

 “We want to assure travellers that Airlink’s schedule and services on those routes will not be affected. Should any SA Express flight be cancelled, we will gladly re-accommodate passengers on our services in order to minimise their inconvenience,” he said, pointing out that all Airlink flights and tickets carried the prefix ‘SA8’, while all SA Express flight numbers start with the prefix ‘SA1’.