South African airline companies, Airlink and Safair Operations, have agreed not to pursue a proposed tie-up and have withdrawn their joint application for a Competition Tribunal hearing that was due to consider the matter during November 2018.
The decision to walk away from the proposed transaction was prompted by the protracted local regulatory processes and commercial considerations, the companies said on 26 October.
“It’s a pity we were unable to go ahead, but the window of opportunity has closed on what promised to be the creation of a robust and profitable South African airline group, comprising two distinct operations – Airlink’s Southern African regional business and the FlySafair low-cost South African domestic business,” explained Rodger Foster, Airlink CEO and Managing Director.
“While we are disappointed that the deal will no longer go ahead, we remain very positive about our business and several commercial opportunities that may exist between the two airlines that could be of great value to both our growing businesses,” commented Elmar Conradie, Safair Operations CEO.
“For both companies it is business as usual as both continue to focus on delivering safe, reliable and vital air services to the markets they serve and new ones. At the same time, they will continue to look for further opportunities to grow and strengthen their respective businesses, which are significant employers and creators of direct and indirect jobs in the Southern African air transport and tourism sectors,” the companies said.
In November 2017 SA Airlink and Safair announced they were seeking to merge under the common umbrella of the Airlink group of companies. However, in February 2018 the Competition Commission prohibited the proposed merger, saying the transaction would hurt the competitiveness of the local airline industry.