15 Facts About Airlink


Airlink was formed in 1992 by business partners Rodger Foster and Barrie Webb, following the purchase of the liquidated Link Airways business, which had incorporated a range of other airlines: Midlands Aviation, Lowveld Aviation Services, Magnum Airways, Border Air and Citi Air.

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In 1995, SA Airlink officially launched on 25 March at a gathering of important guests, including Queen Elizabeth II.

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In 1997, SA Airlink further strengthened their partnership with South African Airways, and joined both SAA and South African Express in a strategic alliance.

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The alliance was governed by a franchise agreement, which saw SA Airlink adopt the "South African" brand identity and become South African Airlink.

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In 1999, South African Airlink entered into a joint venture with the government of Swaziland to create a new airline to replace the defunct Royal Swazi National Airways.

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In 2006, South African Airlink exited the strategic alliance with South African Airways and entered into a franchise agreement, dropping the "South African" branding from their name, but retaining a similar colour scheme.

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SA Airlink introduced their unique Sunbird logo as part of the new branding.

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In February 2008, SA Airlink successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit, and was placed on the IATA registry with code "4Z".

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In 2016, SA Airlink signed an agreement with the government of Madagascar to operate scheduled domestic air services within it, and regional air services to and from the island.

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On 3 May 2017, Airlink became the first airline in history to make a commercial charter flight to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, landing a BAe Avro RJ-85 at the newly constructed Saint Helena Airport to pick up passengers stranded there when the island's only link with the outside world, the British Royal Mail Ship RMS St Helena, suffered propeller damage.

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In 2019, SA Airlink expanded its training centre in cooperation with Embraer to house both an Embraer E190 and an Embraer ERJ-145 full flight simulator.

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Airlink ended its 23-year old franchise agreement with South African Airways in the early part of 2020.

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On 12 November 2020, Airlink unveiled a new livery, dropping any similarities to the South African Airways brand and incorporating the Sunbird logo set against sunrise colours as the main focal point of the new tail insignia.

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In January 2021, Airlink became the third largest carrier within Africa by number of seats offered, and second largest by number of flights scheduled.

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Airlink is privately owned, but has published the names of its shareholders:.

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