Emirates has expanded its partnership with South African airline Airlink to a full codeshare agreement.
The move will open up more than 40 domestic and regional destinations across 12 African countries, said the Gulf carrier.
Emirates recently restarted flights to South Africa, with the new agreement offering greater seamless onward connectivity via Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
Domestic options include Bloemfontein, Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth, while regional links in southern African include connections to Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, as well as Bulawayo, Windhoek, Maputo, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe and Victoria Falls.
Benefits of the codeshare agreement, said Emirates, include more competitive fairs, combined ticketing and seamless baggage transfer.
Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ chief commercial officer, said the deal would bolster travellers leisure destination options, and stressed the airline was committed to growing its operations in South Africa.
"We hope to help jumpstart the recovery of the local travel and tourism industry," said Kazim.
He added he was hopeful Emirates’ relationship with South African Airways could revived if and when the South African flag carrier emerges from a prolonged period of financial strife. Its operations are currently suspended.
"Our codeshare partnership with Airlink complements the valuable relationship Emirates has with South African Airways, which we eagerly anticipate to restart once the airline is back in operation," said Kazim.
Rodger Foster, Airlink chief executive and managing director, added: "Emirates serves all of our source markets and together we are able to provide vital air access throughout Airlink’s comprehensive network of destinations within Southern Africa, and provide much needed connectivity, linking Africa with the world and the world with Africa.
"The tourism and air transportation sectors have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the associated lockdowns and travel bans, and as the world gets vaccinated, we expect the pent-up travel demand will be realised, and more customers will want to visit the special destinations that Airlink offers services to."