Irish group ASL to take minority stake in South African airline

ASL’s low-cost carrier, Safair, to merge with rival Airlink, subject to regulatory approval

Both the Airlink and Safair brands will continue to operate separately with their respective fleets, products and management teams. Photograph: iStock

Both the Airlink and Safair brands will continue to operate separately with their respective fleets, products and management teams. Photograph: iStock

 

Irish airline group ASL Aviation will take a minority stake in an enlarged South African carrier following a merger of its budget operator, Safair, with rival Airlink.

South African regional airline Airlink is set to take over Safair, ASL’s low-cost carrier, if the deal receives approval from local competition regulators early next year.

Dublin-based ASL confirmed on Monday that it was participating in the transaction and that it would take a minority stake in the Airlink group of companies, subject to regulatory clearance.

The two airlines said they intended seeking the South African Competition Commission’s approval for the transaction on Tuesday. As part of the deal, Safair said it was committed to meeting the country’s black empowerment targets.

Both the Airlink and Safair brands will continue to operate separately with their respective fleets, products and management teams, and there will be no job losses at either carrier.

Safair’s humanitarian operations for the United Nations and International Red Cross will also continue with its fleet of civilian Hercules and Boeing 737 aircraft.

ASL’s chief executive Hugh Flynn described the deal as a landmark for the South African industry.

ASL Aviation Holdings includes six European and two Asian airlines operating cargo and passenger flights for blue-chip clients and under their own brands.

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