A potential consolidation with a West African airline to join the KQ-SAA membership pact would strengthen the strategic partnership framework, Kenya Airway’s group board, chairman, Michael Joseph said in an investor briefing on Tuesday.
“The intention is to invite a West African airline at some point in the future to also join. We will have a three-hub strategy of Nairobi, Johannesburg, and the West African hub to create better opportunities and services for our customers,” he said.
“Africa needs something like this, and the intention is to invite a West African carrier to join,” Joseph was also quoted by Kenya Digest.
Joseph reportedly said the airlines would form a holding company but continue to operate separately under their brands.
“The shareholders of the holding company will be strategic investors and individual governments that wish to retain their share,” he noted.
The holding firm would assist the carriers with catering, maintenance, and financing services. “Our idea is to lower the overall cost of flying to attract more passengers across Africa,” Joseph said.
Another piece in the unglamorous behind-the-scenes effort to smooth the way for distribution deals with the airlines, the combined carriers are tipped to have a bigger network, and provide better pricing power.
Speaking to CH-Aviation, SAA Chief Commercial Officer Simon Newton-Smith said, the goal is to achieve an extensive reciprocal codeshare partnership by June 2022.
By June 2023, the goal was to harmonise schedules and terms and conditions on pricing, pending anti-trust immunity in core markets.
He said the aim was to create a pan-African network of smaller airlines, thereby creating better and affordable connectivity in Africa, but stopped short of confirming equity exchange.
“I can’t tell you what that’s going to look like right now because that is a little bit further down the line,” he said.