South African Airways (SAA), and its Ghanaian partner, Africa World Airlines (AWA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhanced connectivity on the West African region.
The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of SAA and AWA, Vuyani Jarana, and John Quan, respectively, signed the pact at the Ghana Ministry of Aviation in Accra, Ghana recently.
The MoU allows the two airlines to enhance their relationship through synergies that include code sharing, franchising and any other related projects.
SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana, said the partnership was part of the South African national carrier's turnaround strategy.
"We are constantly looking at ways of improving our customers' travel experiences. This agreement gives our customers seamless connections from Johannesburg into more destinations in Ghana and other West African destinations.
"The agreement augments SAA's popular and successful Ghana operations and offers customers a host of additional travel options in Ghana as well as further afield in the African West Coast region.
"As the leading carrier on the continent, our aim is to improve air travel connections on the continent through partnerships and this agreement with AWA goes a long way towards improving intra-African travel," Jarana said.
Quan added that the agreement would help consolidate Africa World Airlines' position as one of the leading airlines in West Africa.
"We are excited by the potential that this African partnership can deliver, and are confident that it will be a win-win relationship for both sides," Quan said.
SAA and Africa World Airlines formed a relationship in 2015, which resulted in the commencement of the Accra to Washington Dulles flights.
SAA operates daily flights between Johannesburg and Accra, with four of the flights continuing onwards to Washington; and the other three flights continue onwards to Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.
SAA's relationship with AWA has since grown from the original commercial co-operation into the new interline commercial agreement, which became possible when SAA finalised technology integration with AWA in November. The interline agreement allows the acceptance of each other's customers and access to each other's network.
SAA customers will fly from Accra on SAA operated flights and then connect to further destinations on flights operated by AWA.
Over the coming months the interline agreement will evolve into a code share agreement. SAA customers will then travel on one ticket from Johannesburg to Accra, or from Washington to Accra, and onwards to a number of destinations such as Kumasi in central Ghana, Tamale in the north, and Takoradi in the west. SAA customers will also be able to connect from Accra to Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, Freetown in Sierra Leone, and Monrovia in Liberia.
In turn, customers of Africa World Airlines travelling from Ghana, Lagos, Abuja, Freetown, and Monrovia, are able to travel on one ticket from any AWA point of origin and connect onto SAA international flights to either Washington D.C. or Johannesburg, or further on the SAA network.
With effect from April, SAA increases the frequency from Accra to Washington to five flights per week. SAA offers the only nonstop flight between Ghana and Washington D.C. and convenient connections to / from over 100 cities across the U.S. and Canada through its Star Alliance partner, United Airlines via Washington, D.C.-Dulles.