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20211124 KQ and SAA partnership
Aviado Partners reviews the announced Kenya Airways - South African Airways Partnership (Source: Airline Weekly)

24 November 2021, Mannheim, Germany


Aviado Partners Advisory Services GmbH, a leading international transport-sector consulting firm, is interviewed by Edward Russell from Airline Weekly. Aviado Partners Managing Director Shakeel Adam discussed the potential opportunities created by a partnership between Kenya Airways and South African Airlines.

As context, it should be noted that both Kenya Airways and South African Airways have a tremendous history of providing professional and reliable service with a strong safety record. However, for the past few decades, the airlines have both struggled financially, but have continued to provide exceptional service. Unfortunately, while they did not evolve, competitors and the whole market did. Making matters worse, both airlines have been perennially mismanaged and have been overwhelmed by a plethora of poor advice. 

Covid-19 reset the global travel sector. It made even the healthiest airlines unstable. This provides an exceptional, one in a hundred years opportunity for weaker airlines to step up. As markets recover, Aviado Partners believes the smaller and mid-size airlines have the advantage because larger airlines will take longer to ramp up to a level where their fleets are once again efficiently deployed. 

Kenya Airways (KQ) used to be the sole midpoint carrier in Africa. However, Ethiopian Airlines had grown by 2019 to more than double KQ's size and was on a continuous and sustainable rise while KQ was on a slow spiral down. Rwandair, Egyptair, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines all provide exceptional access to Africa, but only Ethiopian is an effective competitor on Pan-African connectivity.

South African Airways (SAA) was a leading carrier on the global scale until it followed an ill-advised restructuring which stripped costs to an unsustainable level and crippled its ability to compete effectively. Decades later, it has not recovered, but it has continued to remain professional and reliable. It's geographic position does not lend itself to being a major connecting hub, but it remains the most effective gateway hub to Southern Africa and SAA remains the only effective gateway supplier. 

On the basis of their strengths, cooperation between these carriers could provide tremendous benefits to customers. Only if these carriers can finally shed their legacy issues. It will be interesting to observe how the partnership develops. 

About Aviado Partners Advisory Services GmbH

Aviado Partners Advisory Services GmbH is a specialist management consulting firm providing objective, independent and evidence-based analysis, advice and implementation support to airlines, airports, rail operators, hotels and other transportation related companies around the world. The firm advises management, boards, investors, governments, leasing companies and other stakeholders across all the key commercial and strategy issues. Aviado Partners' team members and associates have worked with leading international full service and low cost airlines, global consulting firms, financial institutions and manufacturers both as members of senior management as well as an airline consultant. The Partners and Associates have led or had significant involvement in numerous merger, acquisition, restructuring, start-up, aircraft selection and performance improvement assignments in Asia, the United States, Canada, South America, Russia & the CIS, Africa and the Middle East.

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