Airlink steps up fight against multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade


Airlink, the privately owned Southern African regional airline, will implement a company-wide programme involving training, new processes and supply chain interventions to identify and combat illicit wildlife trade.

The illegal wildlife trade is valued between $50-150 billion (approximately between ZAR730 billion – ZAR2,19 trillion at current exchange rates) per year and is one of the five most lucrative global crimes. Illegal killing and trading of wild animals is a global crisis, with species being hunted to extinction for their horns, skins, and teeth.

The programme, run by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and United for Wildlife (UFW), will involve training for all Airlink front-line staff, including cabin crew, check-in, ground handling, and cargo personnel across the airline’s entire network of South African domestic and Southern African regional destinations.

In addition, Airlink is revising its policies and intervening across its entire supply chain to introduce measures designed to thwart the scourge, which is especially acute in Southern Africa, where it continues to destroy biological diversity and decimate species of animals in astonishing numbers.   Allied to this, Airlink will also launch a customer awareness campaign for travellers and shippers of airfreight consignments.

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The programme marks the expansion of Airlink’s commitment to combatting illegal wildlife trade under the 2016 Buckingham Palace Declaration and as a member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.


“Airlink took a stand against the illegal wildlife trade by signing the landmark 2016 Buckingham Palace Declaration and becoming a member of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.  Now we take this commitment even further by implementing the global best practices developed under IATA/UFW Illegal Wildlife Trade programme,” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

Training, which will commence this month, will be delivered through a series of e-modules, each about an hour long, covering an introduction to the trade, what to look for, how to report it, and how to handle wildlife products.  Refresher courses will be provided annually.

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“Our expanding route network facilitates trade and creates new economic opportunities throughout Southern Africa, but with this growth comes a responsibility to protect and preserve the incredible biodiversity and wildlife that makes Southern Africa so unique.  Airlink is proud to be at the forefront of this fight to stop the illegal wildlife trade,” added Foster.

Certification of the programme’s implementation and completion of the Illegal Wildlife Trade training modules is subject to an independent audit and will entitle Airlink to display a special roundel as a public hallmark signifying its commitment to stopping illicit wildlife trafficking.

To learn more about this initiative go to

About United for Wildlife

United for Wildlife works to tackle illegal wildlife trade by bringing together conservation organisations, governments, and global corporations. Led by The Duke of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife is working to protect endangered species like elephants, rhinos, tigers, and pangolins so they can share our world with future generations.

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About Airlink

Airlink was established in 1992 and is an independent, privately-owned, full-service premium airline.  Choice and reliability are Airlink hallmarks, with the airline serving more than 45 destinations in 13 countries throughout Southern Africa, Madagascar, and St Helena Island*.

Airlink is ranked as South Africa’s most punctual airline, with its fleet of more than 50 modern jetliners achieving a 98.22% average on-time performance** for the year to date.  Airlink is an International Air Transport Association (IATA) member and is accredited under its safety audit program.

Wole Shadare