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KQ, SAA Reopen Talks on Pan-African Airline After Takasto Deal Failed

By: Gerald Andae

Kenya’s national carrier and South Africa Airways (SAA) have reopened discussions on the creation of a Pan-African Airline, following the withdrawal of Takatso, an investment firm set to acquire a majority stake in SAA.

Executives from Kenya Airways flew to South Africa last month at the invitation of SAA to chart a new course and establish fresh timelines for the long-anticipated airline’s formation.

“We went to South Africa to chart a new path after Takatso’s withdrawal. We are commencing negotiations anew,” stated a representative from Kenya Airways.

Kenya Airways said it anticipates getting a clearer perspective on the progress of the negotiations by year-end, aiming to achieve tangible advancements in their plans.

The initiative, spearheaded by the Takatso Group over three years, aimed to acquire a controlling interest in South Africa’s national carrier, thereby facilitating its revitalisation with renewed financial support.

Initially, the Takatso Aviation consortium, endorsed by the government as the preferred partner, had secured approval to acquire a 51 percent stake in SAA.

However, their surprise withdrawal last month has disrupted this trajectory, with the South African Government citing a revised transaction structure as the cause of the setback.

“The business valuation now stands at R1 billion, with the property valued at approximately R5.5 billion. Consequently, any negotiations regarding this transaction must consider the revised valuations,” stated government officials.

The envisioned Pan-African Airline, a collaborative initiative between Kenya Airways and SAA, was slated for establishment this year. Nevertheless, Kenya Airways had last month disclosed last week that the project faces postponement as both airlines prioritize efforts to recapitalise.

The establishment of the airline had been delayed as the two prospective alliance partners focused on recapitalisation.

This partnership aimed to leverage assets, enhance connectivity for passengers and cargo, and make air travel more accessible through competitive pricing and expanded route networks.

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