Aviation: Emirates dismisses reports of investment in SAA

Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has not given a toss to rumors that it is planning to invest in South African Airways (SAA) after reports in South Africa said the two carriers had held talks through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy in the African country.

“Emirates continues to focus on its organic growth and strategic codeshare partnerships where it makes sense for our business and customers,” the airlines told Dubai-based Arabian Business Monday.

“We are committed to the South African market and have enjoyed close cooperation with South African Airways (SAA) since 1997, and we are working closely to further enhance our codeshare.

“However, we have no plans to invest or take any equity share in SAA or any other airline.”

Speculations of Emirates’ investment into South Africa’s ailing national carrier have risen recently after South African media reported ongoing partnership talks between the two companies with the UAE embassy playing a go-between.

Emirates’ sister airline Etihad has also been reported holding parallel talks with SAA. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier also in a statement sent to Arabian Business indicated that the rumors or the speculations are untrue.

“Etihad Airways does not comment on rumor or speculation,” Etihad said in the statement.

Meanwhile, SAA on Monday indicated it discussed with an array of airlines, including the two Emirati global competitors, ways to strengthen commercial relationship. Turkish Airways, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Mauritius, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have also been contacted for talks, SAA said.

SAA Chief Executive Officer Vuyani Jarana in an interview following his appointment at the head of the bailed out airline in November proposed authorities to seek an aviation investor partner in a bid to revive the national carrier, which has incurred losses since 2011, Arabian Business reports.

For Jarana, the future partner would enable SAA to share costs, improve customer service and receive a capital injection.

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