New era of competition’ as Airlink, Eswatini end decades-long joint venture

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New era of competition’ as Airlink, Eswatini end decades-long joint venture

Private South African airline Airlink and government of the Kingdom of Eswatini have agreed to end their decades-long joint venture Eswatini Airlink.

Eswatini Airlink was established in 1999 to provide air services for the kingdom after Royal Swazi National Airways stopped operating.

Eswatini Airlink currently operates multiple daily services between the O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORT) in Johannesburg and Sikhuphe’s King Mswati III International Airport.

The government of Eswatini recently re-established its own national airline.

From 1 June, both Airlink and the Kingdom’s new national carrier, Eswatini Air, will provide scheduled flights between ORT and King Mswati III International Airport.

“We have jointly and amicably agreed to discontinue Eswatini Airlink’s operations in an orderly manner to avoid any disruption and inconvenience to our customers,” Airlink CEO Rodger Foster said in a statement on Thursday. 

Eswatini’s Minister for Public Works and Transport, Chief Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe, says that the government decided to take advantage of what it sees as an opportunity to restart a national airline in the post-pandemic recovery period.

In his view, the launch of the new, wholly government-owned Eswatini Air ushers in “a new era of competition”.

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