The new commercial partnership is bound to boost airfreight cargo logistics in Africa, providing more options and access to the Sub-Saharan market through the two airlines’ hubs in Johannesburg and Nairobi.
In line with the agreement, Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), Dubai will function as the key transit point.
According to Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation, “The interline agreement will offer new opportunities and connectivity into Airlink’s network, which comprises various points in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Madagascar and Namibia.”
Furthermore, Astral Aviation will also have access to many services operated by Airlink Cargo beyond Johannesburg to Beira, Tete, Pemba and Maputo (Mozambique); Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban (South Africa) and Lubumbashi (Congo DRC).
Other destinations will be Gaborone (Botswana); Victoria Falls and Harare (Zimbabwe); Ndola and Livingstone (Zambia); Maseru (Lesotho); Antananarivo and Nosy Be (Madagascar); Walvis Bay and Windhoek (Namibia).
According to Emirates, the new deal will “offer competitive fares, combined ticketing, and seamless baggage transfers” when connecting between the two airlines.
Customers traveling to South Africa will now transfer from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to domestic destinations such as Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit, Kimberley, Skukuza, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Sishen, Mthatha and Port Elizabeth.
They will also be able to visit areas across Southern Africa such as Gaborone, Kasane, Vilanculos, Lubumbashi, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Maseru, Antananarivo, Pemba, Tete, Maun, Victoria Falls, Walvis Bay, Maputo, Windhoek, Harare, Lusaka, Ndola, Bulawayo and Livingstone.
The two freighter operators will use Dubai World Central as a transit point for cargo being transferred between the two airlines.
“The agreement will allow Silk Way West Airlines to broaden its network toward Africa since the carrier had no scheduled services within that continent,” the Baku-hubbed carrier said.
“Subsequently, the networks of carriers will be in a position to complement each other, as there is a number of markets, where both airlines do not overlap with one another.”