According to ch-aviation.com, SA confirmed this but refrained from commenting further due to the sensitive nature of the negotiations.
“The nature of such discussions contains commercially sensitive information. As soon as both parties are ready to share, we will provide an update,” a spokeswoman said.
There was no immediate comment from BA. John Lamola, temporary chairman and chief executive of SA, informed Fin24 of the talks but withheld further information.
How taking on a franchise of oneworld Alliance member BA will impact SA’s Star Alliance membership or its planned pan-African partnership with Skyteam member Kenya Airways (KQ) is anyone’s guess at this point.
A British South African Franchise
With Comair’s provisional liquidation in June of this year, BA lost its franchisor in South Africa. It was decided to extend the temporary order until December 13, 2022.
Cloete Murray of the Sechaba Trust, Comair’s provisional liquidator, reportedly stated that the British flag carrier was searching for a new franchise partner in the South African market. The domestic market capacity was held by Comair, which included the BA franchisee and its low-cost carrier brand Kulula Air (MN).
The decision by SA, which returned from bankruptcy protection as a significantly smaller airline, is seen as an effort to restore consumer confidence, which was damaged as a result of its 18-month business rescue effort.
Following a ZAR14bn (US$937m) state bailout, the airline resumed commercial operations on September 23, 2021, with only six leased aircraft.
Featured image: British Airways. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways