Morgan Phaahla’s letter on SAA (“Public enterprises caught napping”, February 12) provides an opportunity for a common misconception to be corrected.

Airlink is not a state-owned or state-managed entity. It is a privately owned, broad-based BEE level-4 business, with strong institutional shareholders — including a prominent community development trust — and a respectable track record of consistent profitability over the past 28 years.

Airlink is a financially robust and reliable airline in which travellers can have complete confidence.

SAA acquired a 2.9% stake in Airlink 20 years ago to underpin the commercial franchise agreement between the two carriers. With this franchise terminating on June 10 2020, Airlink has offered to buy back SAA’s shareholding. From June 11 all Airlink flights and tickets will operate under its unique “4Z” code.

Airlink is headquartered in Johannesburg and employs more than 1,700 people throughout Southern Africa. It has the largest fleet of commercial jetliners in Southern Africa, which operate more than 5,600 monthly flights on 55 routes to 39 destinations in nine African countries and St Helena island.

In 2019 Airlink carried almost 2-million passengers on more than 63,000 flights with a 94% on-time performance record (measured by the Airports Company SA).

Airlink will soon be adding more destinations to its network and more frequencies to its schedule. This is partly to fill the gap on certain routes due to be vacated by SAA, such as Entebbe, but some of them, such as Luanda, were already identified as key elements in our growth strategy.

Rodger Foster
Airlink CEO and MD

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