Emirates Airbus A380. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Emirates Airbus A380. Picture: BLOOMBERG

SAA said on Tuesday it has signed a deal with Emirates to expand an existing codeshare agreement, in a rare bright spot for the cash-strapped airline.

A codeshare agreement is when airlines share booking services for a flight.  

SAA, which has not made a profit since 2011 and survives on government bailouts, said the agreement would see the two airlines leverage each other’s route networks, cargo services and flight schedules to boost passenger flows.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been at pains to stabilise ailing state-owned companies such as SAA, but the extent of their financial difficulties has meant progress has been slow.

SAA, which hopes to turn a profit by 2021 by cutting jobs and routes, expects to make another large loss this financial year, despite a recent government cash injection of R5bn.

“The expansion of our commercial relationship will further strengthen key focus areas of the implementation of our turnaround plan,” SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana said.

Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline remains committed to its decades-long relationship with SAA. 

“The forthcoming expansion of our codeshare agreement is an exciting development and a significant milestone in our history in SA,” Clark said. 

“Increasing the scope of our agreement underpins the strong bonds we share with SAA and our belief that this enhanced partnership will enable further success and gain to the airlines and their customers.” — Reuters with Staff Writer