United, Airlink sign codeshare deal to expand US, Southern African routes



United States-based airline, United Airlines, and Africa’s fast-growing airline, Airlink have signed a new codeshare agreement that will offer customers more connections between the U.S. and Southern Africa than any other airline alliance.

The new agreement, which is subject to government approval, would offer one-stop connections from the U.S. to more than 40 destinations in Southern Africa.

Additionally, United will be the first airline to connect its loyalty program with Airlink, allowing MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles when they travel on Airlink flights. This new cooperation will be in addition to United’s existing partnership with Star Alliance member South African Airways.


United Airlines’ aircraft

Commitment to Africa

United has continued to demonstrate its commitment to Africa, starting three brand new flights to the continent this year alone including a new service to Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Penultimate week, United restored the Washington-Lagos route five years after dumping the lucrative route. The carrier attributed its exit from Nigeria to Nigeria’s Central Bank of Nigeria’s foreign exchange policy has restricted the movement of foreign currencies abroad after the global slump in oil prices depleted the country’s foreign reserves.

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The carrier had on May 15, 2021, restored non-stop service to Accra from Washington DC. The West African country welcomed a passenger flight from Washington to Accra operated by United Airlines.

United Airlines is the third largest airline globally as measured by fleet size and several routes. It will compete with Delta on the Accra- New York JFK route.

About four million people have connections to Ghana across the globe. The United States has over 116,000 Ghanaians living in the country. This implies that there will be many people who will fly to and from Ghana.

Vice president of international network and alliances at United, Patrick Quayle said. “And now through our codeshare agreement with Airlink – which is the most expansive partnership in Southern Africa – customers will be able to easily explore more bucket list destinations across the continent including easy connections to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and more.”

United has continued to expand its footprint into Africa, with direct service to four African destinations. Earlier this month, United announced flights between Washington DC and Lagos Nigeria will begin November 29, subject to government approval.

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United’s popular service between New York/Newark and Cape Town, South Africa will also resume on December 1.

North America important market

North America is an important source market for our destinations. This codeshare will make it easy for its North American customers to reach the Okavango Delta, Chobe, the Kruger National Park, and adjacent private game lodges, Cape Town, the Garden Route, Swakopmund, and the Copperbelt, among others, said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

“Similarly, the codeshare means that our customers in the 12 African countries we currently  serve, will have fast and seamless access to all of United’s network.”  This new codeshare will be implemented upon final government approvals.

South Africa’s Airlink

 Committed to Ensuring a Safe Journey

United is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of every customer’s journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness through its United CleanPlus program.

It has teamed up with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to redefine cleaning and health safety procedures from check-in to landing and has implemented more than a dozen new policies, protocols, and innovations designed with the safety of customers and employees in mind. To manage entry requirements in different destinations, and find places to get tests, customers can visit United’s Travel Ready Center.

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   United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today’s announcement, United has recently launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat, and the industry’s fastest available Wi-Fi.

It has also announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that include careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.

Aside from that, it announced that it would train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.

Wole Shadare