As per Kenyan Wall Street Exchange reports, Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways are collaborating to form a pan-African airline, with the Presidents of both countries discussing the feasibility of the plan.
“We have agreed that that agreement should be progressed forward as it presents an opportunity for South Africa and Kenya to work together to build a pan-African airline,” said Kenya President William Ruto.
William Ruto’s South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa remarked, “We are committed to ensuring that the agreement that was signed between our two airlines goes forward.”
In November 2021, Kenya Airways and South African Airways signed a strategic partnership framework to discuss forming a pan-African airline by 2023. Both airlines have been going through financial headwinds due to the after-effects of travel restrictions and border closures during the COVID pandemic. However, experts are fearful about the whole plan.
As both airlines are now seeking exemptions from aviation watchdogs, analysts are fearing that such protectionist tendencies may further hamper the efforts to establish the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM)
SAATM was launched in 2018 to implement the 1999 Yamoussoukro Declaration, under which African Union member states agreed to the principles of open skies. Despite the Declaration having two-thirds of the signatories, not a single flight has been taken up under the SAATM initiative in the last four years.
Nearly two-thirds of African Union member states have signed up to SAATM since it was launched in January 2018, but not a single flight has taken off under the initiative.