The SAA and KQ CEOs during the signing of the MoU on Tuesday.

Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) and South Africa Airways (SAA) have entered a memorandum of cooperation with a longer-term view to co-starting a Pan-African Airline Group.

Mr Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the partnership’s significance in turning around the fortunes of both KQ and SAA.

“The future of aviation and its long-term sustenance is hinged on cooperation. KQ and SAA collaboration will enhance customer benefits by availing a larger combined passenger and Cargo network, fostering the exchange of expertise, innovation, best practice, and adopting home-grown organic solutions to technical and operational challenges,’’ he said on Tuesday.

SAA’s Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo noted that “This cooperation, which includes demand recovery and other cost containment strategies, will aid recovery of both carriers in an increasingly competitive African airline environment.

“KQ and SAA, as iconic airline brands of Africa’s biggest and vibrant economies, in East Africa and Southern Africa respectively, are at the precipice of what could be Africa’s formidable Pan African airline,’’ he added.

 Kgokolo added that collaboration will also assist both airlines in the current and post-pandemic business and travel environment.

This he says involves, joint recovery strategies and other cost containment strategies that will aid recovery of both carriers in an increasing competitive African airline environment.

This cooperation also seeks to address the significant contraction witnessed in the history of the air transport market in the wake of COVID-19.

The African air transport market is estimated to be 50% of 2019 (pre-COVID-19), and the situation is expected to last for at least three years.