SA Airlink acknowledges and respects the judgement handed down by the Gauteng High Court on 02 March 2020, which dismissed its application for a ruling compelling South African Airways (SAA) to pay over money it held on Airlink’s behalf.
Airlink brought the application in order to recover funds from the sale of Airlink flight tickets. In terms of its long-standing franchise agreement with SAA, sales of tickets for travel on Airlink “SA8” coded flights were processed by SAA’s computer reservation system. Revenue from these sales was meant to be ring-fenced and safeguarded until they were paid over to Airlink once the tickets had been flown.
This arrangement served both carriers well for many years until last November when SAA said it was unable to transfer funds to Airlink that were derived from tickets redeemed on Airlink flights in the preceding weeks, as it used the money for its own working capital.
“Although we are disappointed by the judgement, we respect the judicial process and will either seek leave to appeal or recoup our revenue from SAA as a creditor,” explained Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.
“While today’s judgement is a setback for Airlink, we have a robust balance sheet and have made alternative arrangements to ensure we have sufficient funds available to continue operating and serving our customers without any disruptions. At the same time, as part of our resilience and growth strategy, we have been busy preparing for business beyond and after the SAA franchise,” added Mr Foster.
Airlink flights will operate under the “SA8” flight code until 10 June 2020, after which they will be operated under Airlink’s unique “4Z” code. “4Z” tickets are already available through travel agents, tour operators and online at www.flyairlink.com . Airlink has also been putting in place cooperative agreements with several international long-haul airlines to carry connecting passengers and cargo on its comprehensive network across Southern Africa. Airlink will continue to operate services linking Johannesburg with Port Elizabeth, Entebbe, Ndola and Luanda even though its current franchise partner, SAA, have stopped serving those destinations.