February 10, 2020: From February 29, South African airline Airlink will operate services linking Johannesburg with Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Entebbe (Uganda), Ndola (Zambia), and Luanda (Angola), even though its franchise partner, South African Airways (SAA), will stop serving those destinations from that date.

SAA's business rescue practitioners (BRPs) declared last week that the bankrupt airline would be cancelling all of its domestic routes from the end of February, apart from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Airlink, which operates on 55 routes to 39 destinations in nine African countries, is planning to sue SAA and its business rescue practitioners (BRPs) for ZAR700 million rand ($47 million) to recover revenues from ticket sales it alleges is owed to it by SAA, CEO Roger Foster told last week.

"We will elaborate on our claim in the Johannesburg High Court on February 11, 2020, but not before," said Foster to News24.

"The airline business is characterised by the sale of high volumes of perishables at low margins. At the same time, there are significant capital and operational costs associated with running an airline, which necessitates continual downward pressure on costs and having enough cash available to cover them," he added.

Currently, Airlink operates two flights a day to Ndola which will allow travellers booked on SAA's own flights to be re-accommodated on Airlink after February 29. Furthermore, Airlink has been operating flights to Entebbe on SAA's behalf and will continue these services without disruption. Airlink recently secured traffic rights to operate daily direct flights to Luanda and will commence this service on the same date.

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