South Africa: SAA Won't Have to Ditch Partners

South Africa: SAA Won't Have to Ditch Partners

South African Airways will not have to end its partnerships with other airlines as part of the conditions for its Star Alliance membership, Johannesburg-based Business Day reported.

News of the carriers impending membership in the 15-member Star Alliance had spurred fears that popular partnerships with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Air France — members of competing alliances — would be terminated.

Chris Klick, Star Alliance’s vice president for corporate affairs, said that although the organization would prefer collaboration among member airlines, it would not demand that new alliance members relinquish deals with other airlines.

“We are striving for a win-win situation. A decision to join (or relinquish certain partnerships) should not hurt the bottom line,” said Klick.

Subject to Competition Commission approval, South Africa’s national carrier will become the first African airline to join the Star Alliance.

SAA and TAP Air Portugal are expected to become full members by the end of next year.

SAA spokesman Onkgopotse Tabane told Business Day the airline would communicate with its current code-sharing partners about which ones it was planning to cut ties with.

He said a decision would be made in the next 18 months.

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