Throughout the 2020 lockdown and ongoing restrictions, Airlink was one of the few domestic airlines business travellers could count on. Not only did the airline stay in the air, and afloat, but it's continued to improve and enhance its services throughout 2020 and beyond.
Business Travel Keeps Growing in Africa
The business travel sector in Africa may have faltered during the pandemic but it’s one of the fastest markets to recover worldwide. This is thanks to intense competition among airlines to offer competitive pricing and extra services for these passengers.
Newcomer, Lift is now offering a premium service for business travellers including an extra baggage allowance and optional blocked off middle seat. FlySafair’s business offering automatically includes an empty middle seat, while Kulula has gone the extra carry-on route.
Airlink’s major focus has been on expanding its offering to include an extensive list of destinations desirable for business travel.
Airlink’s Business Travel Routes
Airlink has gone above and beyond when it comes to increasing its reach into Africa, with a host of attractive routes up for grabs. These include:
- Durban and Pietermaritzburg
- Gqeberha and East London
- Hoedspruit, Skukuza, and Nelspruit
Business travellers wanting to venture further afield can book Airlink flights to Luanda thanks to agreements with Ethiopian Airlines, Maputo, Lusaka, Maun, Maseru, Beira, Dar es Salaam, Gaborone, and more.
Airlink’s Ties with United Airlines
A codeshare agreement between US-based United Airlines and Airlink opens up new horizons for both African and North American travellers.
This agreement opens up access to all of United’s routes from their 12 African destinations and offers US travellers seamless one-stop connections to desirable safari destinations like Chobe, Kruger National Park, and the Okavango Delta.
Image - https://pixabay.com/photos/okavango-delta-river-landscape-5158380/
They can also travel easily from the US to 40 sought-after African travel spots including Cape town, the Garden Route, Swakopmund, and the Copper Belt.
What’s more, United is the first airline to link its loyalty program with Airlink, so MileagePlus customers can earn and redeem miles while traveling with Airlink.
While international travel restrictions may hamper the benefits of this ground-breaking agreement for the time being, Airlink is onboard with new innovations that promise to alleviate these hassles in due course.
Airlink trials the IATA Travel Pass
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass is a digital smartphone app for airline passengers.
This convenience provides accurate information on the user’s current Covid-19 health status as well as access to entry requirements for their intended destinations. It promises to offer more security and efficient processes than the current paper trail used to manage health requirements.
Airlink will conduct trial runs on the IATA Travel Pass on its flights between Namibia and South Africa in November 2021. During these test runs, the IATA Travel Pass will be used to confirm that passengers meet the current Covid-19 test requirements before boarding their flights.
The IATA Travel App intends to foster the re-opening of international borders without quarantine requirements in the hopes of kick-starting international tourism and aviation.
In addition, the airline launched its own app in April this year as an add-on to its extensive service offering.
The FlyAirlink app provides a convenient smartphone platform for customers to manage their bookings from the planning stage onward. With this innovation passengers can search and book flights, manage their payments and preferences, check-in, and download their boarding passes.
According to their social media platforms, the airline is also planning a frequent flyer rewards programme to commence in 2022.
These efforts occur in accordance with the airline’s bid to offer increasingly enhanced services in the face of ongoing challenges from other domestic carriers.
Throughout the lockdown period, Airlink continued to offer its customers high levels of reliability and service, foregoing booking change fees during these unpredictable times and picking up the slack from grounded airlines.
With food back on the cards, Airlink CEO and managing director, Rodger Foster, is delighted to announce that Airlink can once again provide its customers with fresh, tasty, and complimentary food and beverage options.
In-flight magazines are also allowed now, on the condition that the airline destroys used copies and that passengers don’t share this reading material with others onboard.
The challenge is on for SA’s domestic airlines
With most airlines still reeling from months of inactivity, and SAA back in the air, competition is heating up in the airline industry.
This bodes well for business travellers who can benefit from competition between these entities in terms of enhanced services and lower fares. It’s also a positive sign for the struggling tourist and economic sectors across Africa.Image credit: Pixabay