United Airlines and regional airline, Airlink, have forged a new codeshare agreement that will offer customers more connections between the US and Southern Africa than any other airline alliance, according to a press release from the two carriers.

The new agreement (subject to government approvals) will give United’s travellers from the US one-stop connections to more than 40 destinations in Southern Africa, many of them important for the Southern African inbound tourism industry. Also, United will be the first airline to connect its loyalty programme with Airlink, allowing United’s MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles when they travel on Airlink flights.

The new co-operation agreement is additional to United’s existing partnership with Star Alliance member South African Airways.

“United continues to demonstrate our commitment to Africa, starting three brand-new flights to the continent this year alone, including new services to Accra, Lagos and Johannesburg,” said Patrick Quayle, VP of International Network and Alliances at United. “And now, through our codeshare agreement with Airlink – which is the most expansive partnership in Southern Africa – customers will be able to easily explore more bucket-list destinations across the continent, including easy connections to Zambia, Zimbabwe and more.”

In addition to the New York/Newark-Johannesburg flights, United earlier this year launched flights from Washington DC to Accra, which will operate daily over December and January. Earlier this month, United announced it would begin flights from Washington DC to Lagos on November 29.

United’s popular seasonal service between New York/Newark and Cape Town will also resume on December 1.

Rodger Foster, CEO and MD of privately owned South African carrier Airlink, identified North America as an important source market for Airlink’s destinations. “This codeshare will make it easy for our North American customers to reach the Okavango Delta, Chobe, the Kruger National Park and adjacent private game lodges, Cape Town, the Garden Route, Swakopmund and the Copperbelt, among others. Similarly, the codeshare means that our customers in the 12 African countries we currently serve will have fast and seamless access to all of United’s network.”

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