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28 September 2021

United Airlines and Airlink Announce Codeshare and Loyalty Program Agreement

New partnership provides customers with easy travel to more than 40 destinations in Southern Africa and ability to earn or redeem miles on Airlink flights

CHICAGO, Sept 28, 2021 – Today, United Airlines and the South African airline, Airlink, announced a new codeshare agreement that will offer customers more connections between the U.S. and Southern Africa than any other airline partnership. The new agreement, which is subject to government approval, will offer one stop connections from the U.S. to 45 destinations in Southern Africa. Additionally, United will be the first airline to combine its loyalty program with Airlink, allowing MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles when they travel on Airlink’s flights.

“United continues to demonstrate our commitment to Africa, beginning three brand new flights to the continent this year alone including new service to Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg, South Africa,” said Patrick Quayle, vice president 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 Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and more.”

United has continued to expand its footprint into Africa, with direct service to four African destinations. Earlier this month, United announced flights between Washington, D.C. and Lagos Nigeria will begin November 29. Earlier this year, United launched new service between New York/Newark and Johannesburg, South Africa and between Washington, D.C. and Accra, Ghana, which is expected to operate daily this December and January. United’s popular service between New York/Newark and Cape Town, South Africa will also resume on December 1.

“North America is an important source market for our 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,” said Airlink CEO and Managing Director, Rodger Foster.

The airlines expect full implementation of this agreement to come into effect in the coming months.

Committed to Ensuring a Safe Journey

United is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of every customer's journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness through its United CleanPlus SM program. United has teamed up with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to redefine cleaning and health safety procedures from check-in to landing and has implemented more than a dozen new policies, protocols and innovations designed with the safety of customers and employees in mind. To manage entry requirements in different destinations, and find places to get tests, customer can visit United’s Travel Ready Center.

United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:

  • Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry’s fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
  • Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
  • Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination’s travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website.
  • Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
  • Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world’s airlines’ publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
  • Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

About United

United’s shared purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL.

About Airlink

Airlink was established in 1992 and is an independent, privately-owned, full-service premium airline. Choice and reliability are Airlink hallmarks, with the airline serving more than 45 destinations in 12 countries throughout Southern Africa, Madagascar and St Helena Island. Airlink is ranked as South Africa’s most punctual airline, with its fleet of more than 50 modern jetliners achieving a 97.70% average on-time performance for the year to date. Airlink is an International Air Transport Association (IATA) member and accredited under its safety audit program.