No job cuts promise as Airlink and Safair plan to merge

Airlink jet.
Airlink jet.

Independent aviation companies Airlink and Safair have inked a merger deal to pool their costs.

In a statement on Monday‚ the companies said they would tomorrow apply to South Africa’s Competition Commission for approval to unite under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies.

The airlines will retain their respective products‚ aircraft fleets‚ management and leadership teams.

"Employees will be secure with no job losses because of the consolidation‚" the companies pledged.

They added the proposal sees the Airlink and low-cost FlySafair airlines and Safair’s other businesses‚ including humanitarian aid flights‚ continuing to operate separately under their unique brands.

“Airlink’s acquisition of Safair‚ which is financially robust and profitable‚ makes good business sense. It presents opportunities to reduce our combined costs‚ position ourselves for growth while at the same time increasing connectivity and choice while making air travel accessible and affordable for our customers across Southern Africa‚” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director‚ Rodger Foster.

“Coming under a single umbrella will create economies of scale that will enable both airlines to share costs‚ optimise assets and remove systems duplications. This will position the new Airlink Group for future growth‚” said Elmar Conradie‚ who will remain as Safair CEO.

The companies said more details will be provided when the Competition Commission has made its determination‚ which they anticipate will be during the first quarter of 2018.

Airlink was established in 1992 and is the leading regional airline in Southern Africa. It has a route network of 37 destinations in nine countries and St. Helena island.

Safair Operations was established in 1965 and describes itself as "a leader in the provision of specialised aviation services for the past 52 years". In 2014 the company launched FlySafair‚ a low-cost carrier competing in South Africa’s domestic market.