Algeria, July 24, 2018


Emirates denies plans to buy a stake in South African Airways

UAE-based carrier also clarifies it does not intend to invest in any other airline

Emirates said on Monday it has “no plans” to invest in South African Airways (SAA), following media reports about talks between the two carriers.

“We are committed to the South African market and have enjoyed close cooperation with South African Airways since 1997, and we are working closely to further enhance our code-share,” an Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News via email. “However, we have no plans to invest to take any equity share in South African Airways or any other airline.”

SAA is one of the UAE carrier’s more than 20 codeshare partners. The tie-up allow flyers to earn and redeem Emirates miles on flights with SAA, which operates the largest route network in Africa and serves over 1,200 destinations and 180 countries worldwide.

Emirates' comments come after South African media reported that the carrier and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways have both held talks with the country’s airline about a partnership.The discussions were being facilitated by the UAE’s embassy in Pretoria, Bloomberg had reported, quoting City Press, a newspaper based in Johannesburg.

Media reports said the talks have been going on for some months, but a source at Emirates told Gulf News there were no talks in the first place.

Etihad Airways refused to comment on the issue, with a spokesperson saying the airline “does not comment on rumours or speculations.”

The reports come as South African Airways grapples with financial issues, with its chief executive officer repeatedly saying that an investor could be the answer to the challenges, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. The airline has not made any profits since 2011, and was bailed out by the government last year to avoid defaulting on its debt, according to Bloomberg.


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