Qatar Airways partners with Airlink to expand Africa operations

Source: Qatar Airways partners with Airlink to expand Africa operations | The Herald

Qatar Airways partners with Airlink to expand Africa operations

Freeman Razemba 

Senior Reporter 

Qatar Airways and Airlink have signed a comprehensive codeshare agreement to offer travellers more choice, enhanced services and greater connectivity between 45 destinations in 13 countries across southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and the rest of the world.

According to media reports, this new codeshare agreement means travellers can enjoy the simplicity of purchasing connecting flights on both airlines using a single reservation with seamless ticketing, check-in, boarding and baggage-check experience, during the entire journey.

The partnership will enable customers to book attractive offers from southern Africa to popular destinations in the United States such as New York and Dallas, cities in Europe such as London, Copenhagen and Barcelona, and points across Asia like Manila, Jakarta and Cebu. 

The agreement also increases Qatar Airways’ footprint in Southern Africa, with improved access to destinations such as Ggeberha (Port Elizabeth) Hoedspruit, Skukuza, George in South Africa and beyond to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive, Mr Akbar al Baker said: “Expanding our network with Airlink gives our customers more choice of destinations and flights, that we hope will contribute to the rapid recovery of travel, which plays such an important role in Southern African economies.”

“We have boosted our presence in the African market by adding eight new destinations since the start of the pandemic and fostering partnerships such as this dynamic agreement with Airlink which will greatly enhance our offering to our customers and support travel and trade.”

Qatar Airways was the only airline to launch new services in Southern Africa after the pandemic, starting operations to Luanda, Harare and Lusaka last year. It resumes operations to Windhoek this month, providing another connection to Airlink’s already extensive regional network via eight gateways in the region.

Airlink’s Chief Executive, Mr Rodger Foster said: “This development is an endorsement of Airlink’s relevance to providing air access to the entire region through our expansive network of destinations, which when considered in conjunction with Qatar Airways’ global reach creates unparalleled connectivity opportunities. 

As southern Africa’s leading airline, Airlink provides comprehensive, safe, and reliable air transportation services, enabling socio-economic development by connecting people with each other and facilitating trade within the region and beyond.”

The new code share flights are available for sales and will commence travel on July 6, 2022 subject to government approval.

Qatar Airways offers direct flights from Doha to Johannesburg 21 times weekly, to Cape Town 10 times weekly and to Durban four times weekly. 

From South Africa, travellers can connect easily to destinations across six continents via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport.

Passengers can book their travel with both airlines, through online travel agencies as well as with local travel agents.

Qatar Airways was the only carrier to continue operations to southern Africa during the pandemic and its immediate aftermath, allowing for the movement of goods, medicines and essential travel between the region and the rest of the world. 

This enabled people to return home to their families, to jobs and assisted with the post-pandemic recovery of our southern Africa trade partners, and the business community.

In June last year, Qatar Airways joined a growing list of airlines flying into Zimbabwe further cementing the country’s status as a safe tourism destination.

The airline with a wide network of routes brought in the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner connecting destinations in Asia, Europe and North America through the Middle Eastern country’s airport.

Flights started on August 6, 2021 with a flight from Doha to Lusaka before the same airplane flies to Harare the following day and to Lusaka before heading to Doha on a three-day weekly schedule on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

This became the airline’s fifth and sixth new destinations launched in Africa since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Africa’s inherent potential has become a major draw-card for investment linking destinations on the continent to 140 other destinations in the world.

In a statement by then, Qatar Airways communications department said with the two new routes, the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Mr Akbar Al Baker was quoted saying the move would support the growth of tourism and economies in Zimbabwe and Zambia.