South African Airways merges with Kenya Airways

The flag carriers of Kenya and South Africa will combine to form a new airline, which is scheduled to launch in 2023.

An agreement between Kenya Airways and South African Airways was reportedly reached during the Kenyan head of state’s two-day visit to South Africa late last month. The two loss-making airlines currently depend on cash injections from the state coffers to stay afloat.

Kenya Airways has suffered heavy financial losses since the coronavirus crisis upended global air travel. It recorded losses of more than $300 million in 2020, and more than $100 million in the first half of 2021.

South African Airways, for its part, resumed operations on September 23, 2021 after a one-year hiatus. Since 2008, the airline had racked up nearly $1 billion in losses.

If this merger goes through, the new company will rival Ethiopian Airlines, the continent’s largest and only profitable carrier.

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