National carrier Kenya Airways has signed a deal with South African Airways which it hopes will in future lead to the formation of a pan-african airline.
The deal comes only a week after SAA flew its first plane since March 2020 after emerging from bankruptcy proceedings with its fleet down to six planes, from a previous 46.
Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka however says the deal is expected to make the two airlines competitive in the continent.
Kilavuka has recently rooted for consolidation of African airlines to make them efficient. KQ has been facing financial turbulence compounded by a decline in air travel due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
It exited administration in April thanks to another state bailout, and the government has said it will sell a 51% stake in the airline to a local consortium.
Kenya Airways’ passenger business has also been severely constrained by COVID-19, and it has focused on cargo to minimise losses.
Kenya has plans to renationalise the airline, whose code-share agreement with Air France-KLM for Africa-Europe routes ends this month.
(Reporting by Alexander Winning in Johannesburg and George Obulutsa in Nairobi; editing by David Evans)