Emirates will allow passage to vaccinated SA nationals from 23 June. Image via Adobe Stock

Air travel: Local airline partners up with two major airlines

Airlink has signed partnership agreements with Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines.


Emirates will allow passage to vaccinated SA nationals from 23 June. Image via Adobe Stock

Privately owned local airline Airlink has experienced a growth spurt since the skies reopened, when the lockdown restrictions on air travel were relaxed. 

The airline has now entered network alliances with two major international airlines.

Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways are well known and highly respected airlines in South Africa. Emirates flies from its base in Dubai to Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Qatar Airways operates flights between Doha and Johannesburg and Cape Town.  


The partnership between airlines offers single ticket travel convenience with “one-stop baggage and check-in procedures”.

Boarding passes will be issued at the start of a journey, and baggage will be checked through to the passenger’s final destination. This enables seamless and convenient connections in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Airlink passengers will benefit from the increased global connectivity of the large route networks offered by Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines. Passengers will be able to fly from smaller centres served by Airlink to international destinations served by Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines.

“We are confident that the relationship will deliver enhanced travel options to customers, given the designed interconnectivity that will be enabled at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport. Airlink’s offering of connectable destinations includes most key points within Southern Africa such as Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Harare, Lusaka, Maputo, Gaborone and Windhoek, amongst many others,” said Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink.


The award-winning Qatar Airways scooped the awards for World’s Best Airline and Best Business Class in the Skytrax awards last year. Qatar Airways is a leader in global aviation. The airline did not cease operations during the pandemic, when many countries were in lockdown. Qatar Airways continued operations where possible, amid border closures and international travel bans.

“As the most connected airline during the pandemic with a network that never fell below 30 destinations, we strive to continue to offer more flexibility and options for our passengers. We are delighted to sign this interline agreement with Airlink to further expand our network in the region, connecting passengers to more than 25 domestic and more than 20 regional destinations. With the borders in South Africa being closed for five months, we are thrilled to re-enter the market with additional connections in South Africa and beyond,” Qatar Airways’ Vice-President for Africa, Hendrik Du Preez said.


The award-winning Emirates Airlines which operates flights to over 100 destinations on six continents through its hub in Dubai, has resumed flights to South Africa.

Emirates reconnected with Johannesburg and Cape Town on 1 October, and with Durban on 8 October. The airline operates one of the most modern and fuel-efficient fleets in the world.

“Emirates is pleased to partner with Airlink on a new interline agreement that will help us strengthen our presence and give customers more choice, flexibility and enhanced connections across 45 cities in Southern Africa. We are committed to our operations in South Africa, as we continue to look at ways to build our extended network for customers, and help them benefit with diverse travel options,” Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines commented on the newly formed partnership.