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Airlink Flights

Airlink is Rated 4.5/5 based on 5 customer reviews

Airlink has recently come out of the shadows and emerged as one of South Africa's favourite domestic airlines! They are the most on-time airline as of May 2023.

In the past they were famed for their small jets or turboprop planes operating some of the roads less travelled. Since the pandemic and their public spat with SAA, they've added some of South Africa's busier domestic routes to their lineup as well. The majority of Airlink's flights are flown from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport - their hub.

Now known simply as Airlink, the airline recently abandoned the "SA" pre-fix to their name to distance them from our national airline. They are one of four privately owned airlines operating on the major South African flight routes (the other are Comair, which operates British Airways and Kulula branded flights, FlySafair and Lift). South African Airways/SAA, Airlink & SA Express are no longer part of an alliance at an operational level.

Also part of the group are Airlink subsidiaries - Airlink Cargo and Swaziland Airlink. Airlink Cargo offers an airfreight service to 30 airports in southern Africa.


16 February 2024: The airline will resume seasonal flights between Mbombela's Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, Vilankulos Airport in Mozambique and OR Tambo International Airport. The flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between 1 July 2024 and 5 January 2025.

9 November 2023: Airlink will expand its South Africa-Malawi operations with additional flights between Johannesburg and Lilongwe from 16 December 2023.

In September, Airlink launched services to both Lilongwe and Blantyre in its foray into the Malawi market, which became the 15th country in the independent regional airline’s route network.  

27 June 2023: The airline is adding two additional routes to their regional network in September, when they will start operating flights from Johannesburg to Lilongwe and Blantyre. Their first flight to Malawi will operate on 4 September 2023. Flights from Johannesburg will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Return flights from Malawi will depart on Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays.

26 January 2023: Airlink is resuming operations between Johannesburg and Antananarivo, Madagascar. Madagascar was closed for three years due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. The first flight will take off on the 30th of January 2023 and operate weekly on Mondays. This will increase to three weekly flights from 14 February 2023, with the potential of becoming daily operations if demand increases.

28 February 2022: Airlink is launching scheduled services between Durban and Harare on 5 April 2022. The direct flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

13 September 2021: Airlink is on-track to receiving ACSA's award for being the most on-time airline in South Africa for 2021. To date they have scored an average of 98%, making them a great choice for clients who want to be puncual and especially for those conntecting on regional or international flights. They will however likely face steep competition from FlySafair who has claimed the award in previous years.

27 October 2020: Airlink decided to drop the "SA" pre-fix to their name in order to distance themselves from the national airline, SAA. Airlink is a privately owned airline, with no relation to SAA. They have severed all ties.

29 February 2020: Airlink is introducing a new mid-morning flight between Johannesburg and East London from the 16th of March 2020. This will allow for better connections to international flights at OR Tambo. The flight will depart Johannesburg at 10h10 and arrive within 1 hour and 35 minutes. The return flight will depart East London at 12h15. The flight will have 98 seats in economy class and 6 seats in business class.

26 February 2020: In a bid to separate them from SAA and SA Express, the airline announced that their flight codes will change. From the 11th of June 2020 they will use the unique code "4Z" to start their flight codes. They are currently using "SA8" and flights with the prefix "SA1" are SA Express flights. The airline will still operate flights on routes cancelled by SAA, their franchise partner.

25 January 2019: Airlink has had to temporarily cancel flights to Mthatha as the SACAA has downgraded the airport. The airline is considering options like making use of a smaller aircraft to comply with safety concerns, in order to resume operations as soon as possible. Affected passengers should contact the airline to make alternative arrangements.

4 October 2018: You're now able to enjoy service on selected Airlink flights similar to business class! They have introduced an intra-continental style business class service on their Cape Town - Victoria Falls and Johannesburg - Walvis Bay routes. This will allow passengers connecting from international airlines to continue their journey with the same baggage allowance and lounge access in Cape Town.

12 July 2018: Airlink has announced the suspension of their Cape Town - Pietermaritzburg route effective from 1 October 2018. They struggled for years to make the route profitable, but has finally given in. Passengers with tickets booked for travel after 29 September will be offered a full refund.

6 March 2018: Airlink has announced the suspension of their Pretoria - Cape Town route from the 8th of May 2018, saying the route never performed as they expected it to. The airline added that this doesn't mean they won't ever operate the route again. They will continue to manage the situation and will be ready to launch the route again should it have the potential to be profitable.

27 February 2018: The Competition Commission has denied SA Airlink and FlySafair's request for a merger, saying that they have several concerns. The first is that the merger would result in FlySafair raising their prices as SA Airlink is considered a fairly expensive airline. This price alignment would negatively affect travellers. The second concern relates to Airlink's relationship with SAA and the possibility of them passing on SAA's commercially sensitive information to FlySafair. Another concern is that Airlink might try to extend their relationship with SAA to FlySafair which would also negatively affect competition. Airlink has since asked for a chance to address the Competition Commission's concerns and they hope that the commission would then reconsider their application. There has been no update on the matter although it seems the Competion Commission are fairly set on their decision.

27 November 2017: Airlink and Safair will apply to the Competition Commission tomorrow for the approval of a merger between the two companies. This merger will still see Safair come under the umbrella of the Airlink group of companies, with flights being operated under both the Airlink and FlySafair brands. "Airlink's acquisition of Safair, which is financially robust and profitable, makes good business sense. It present opportunities to reduce our combined costs, position ourselves for growth while at the same time increasing connectivity and choice while making air travel accessible and affordable for our customers across Southern Africa," said Airlink CEO and Managing Director Rodger Foster. This acquisition will in no way affect staff, each airline's respective products or fleets. We do expect to see route restructuring, especially on routes both airlines operate, although nothing has been confirmed. This will in no way affect Airlink's franchise partnership with SAA. We expect more details in the first quarter of 2018, when the Competition Commission is expected to make their decision.

17 November 2017: Airlink has applied to operate flights between Johannesburg and Abuja, a route previously operated by SAA until they suspended it in March this year. The airline has also recently applied for the right to operate flights between Johannesburg - Libreville, Johannesburg - Douala, Cape Town - Luanda and flights to Brazzaville, Moroni, Mayotte and Cotonou. Airlink md and CEO Rodger Foster would not say whether this is part of SAA's route rationalisation strategy.

17 November 2017: From the 18th of November 2017 Airlink will introduce a monthly charter flight between St Helena and Ascension Island. The airline launched flights to St Helena on the 14th of October 2017.

9 November 2017: Yesterday an Airlink plane had to make an emergency landing on its way to Johannesburg from Harare. The plane had to make an emergency landing at OR Tambo after two of the four engines failed. The South African Civil Aviation (SACAA) will investigate this matter. At the moment Airlink can't comment on this matter.

2 August 2017: Airlink are launching a new return flight between Cape Town and Pretoria from the 28th of August 2017. The new flight will depart Cape Town to arrive in Pretoria at 09h00 and depart Pretoria again at 17h30. This is catered towards businesss clients looking to make the most of their day.

4 July 2017: The first Airlink flights between Cape Town and Victoria Fall were introduced without any hiccups. These flights operate daily, excluding Saturdays.

12 June 2017: Airlink has been chosen by St Helena island to operate flights between the island and SA. Although the contract still needs to be finalised and details of when and where to haven't been confirmed, they will likely launch with either flights to and from Cape Town or Johannesburg. We can't wait for these flights to officially take-off.

09 June 2017: Airlink is increasing flights between Cape Town and Maun (from 6 June 2017) and between Cape Town and Nelspruit (from 2 July 2017). The airline flies daily between Cape Town and Maun, with additional flights now operating on Tuesdays and Thursdays. From the 2nd of July the airline will also operate daily (excluding Saturdays) flights between Cape Town and Nelspruit.

15 March 2017: Airlink is launching flights between Cape Town and Victoria Falls on the 2nd of July 2017. The airline will operate daily flights on this route (excluding Saturdays).

To see how majestic it is to fly Airlink, look no further than this photo by Wesley Madziva :

Airlink engine in flight

Airlink Flight Reviews

  • 2014-04-07 Rating = 5/5. "On the 20th March I had to travel to Mpumalanga due to a family emergency. I booked my flight and I might say it was lovely experience. The SAA airlink departed at 10-00 am and by 12am I was in Mpumalanga and it just made it simply for me to rush straight to hospital to see my Mom before her operation. On the 22nd March again I used your services to book my flight from Mpumalanga to Port Elizabeth. SAA airlink's 45 minutes to JHB was a fresh breeze. And connecting to PE was incredible. SAA's three course meal was awesome. This website is reliable and simply, it takes away any stress arrangements for my flights, cause the payments are processed accurately. The amount for flights and for the agency are deducted separately on my account so, its easy to see all the transactions and the email confirmation is sent straight away. The checking in is so simply and I have not had any problems until today. Looking forward to my Easter bookings. And receiving such emails from you guys makes my day, cause it feels there is a family out ther that cares for me when im travelling."

  • 2013-11-22 Rating = 5/5. " From dreary winter weather to sunny, warm Lowveld air after an extremely pleasant and fast flight, sustained by a lovely light lunch and very good service!"

  • 2013-08-15 Rating = 4/5. "We frequently travel between Cape Town an Upington. Thank you for the service you offer business people who cannot afford to waste 16 hours on a very, very dangers road. It’s convenient and safe to travel with Airlink who constantly providing a travel service which benefitted our company for the past 16 years. Thank for being sustainable during this 16 years. The only reason for the 1 point les than 5 is because of the fact that Airlink passengers have to drive with a bus to the airplane and back. This is the only inconvenience."

  • 2013-08-15 Rating = 3.5/5. "In the early, and I mean early, hours of Thursday the 8th of August, I popped up to Lusaka for a long weekend on the Zambezi River"

  • 2013-04-29 Rating = 5/5. "She executed a perfect landing, the best I’ve ever experienced."

  • "What contributed to my enjoyment of the flight was that it was on another cute little turbo propelled aircraft"

Airlink's fleet

Embraer E-Jet 190
Max passengers : 98 (6 business & 92 economy)


Embraer E-Jet 170
Max passengers : 74 (6 business & 68 economy)


Embraer 140
Max passengers : 44


Embraer 135
Max passengers : 37


Airlink Contact details

See for Airlink's web address. You can phone Airlink's head office in Johannesburg on 011-451 7300 or email Customer relationships may be contacted at

  • Upington : 054 332 2161

  • Kimberley : 053 838 2171

For Airlink cargo email or phone +27 11 390 9900.

Airlink aircraft parked at Kruger Airport


Don't miss your flight - you need to check in and board on time (tip to reduce stress: give yourself ample time, frequent flyers know about getting stuck in the traffic on the way to the airport):

  • at least 2 hours before international flights' scheduled departure times. Check-in closes 50m before the scheduled departure time.

  • at least 1 hour before domestic flights' scheduled departure times. Check-in closes 30m before the scheduled departure time.

Online check-in

After you've bought your ticket online, you can also check-in online - print your boarding pass or collect one at the self service kiosk at selected airports.

  • If you are travelling free and easy without any luggage, you can then move straight to security and your boarding gate.
  • If you have baggage, then at some airports you can drop it off at the baggage drop counter (otherwise, sorry, you have to go to the check-in counter).

You will need to produce the required identification at the boarding gate. If you don't have it, you will be sent back through security and to check-in to have the boarding pass reissued (which may cause you to miss your flight!).


Once you've made your check-in on time, now don't miss your boarding time. Boarding gates close 20m before the scheduled departure time for international flights, and 15m before for domestic flights. Keep your eyes and ears open in case the boarding gates happens!

Baggage Allowance

Airlink's baggage allowance is surprisingly generous, considering the smaller planes it operates:

  • 20kg of free checked-in luggage for economy or 30kg if you're in business class. There is good news for those flying from Johannesburg to Bulawayo/Harare/Lusaka/Ndola - you are allowed 30kg in economy and 40kg in business class. SAA Voyager members are entitled to extra baggage allowances. Excess baggage fees apply if you exceed the free weight allowance, but no bags over 32kg are allowed on board...sorry! Be sure to check your ticket to see whether you are restricted to 1 piece or not. Infants are allowed a collapsible buggy (wheee!) and just 1 piece of luggage with a maximum weight of 10kg and dimensions of 115cm.

  • hand luggage with a maxmimum weight of 8kg and maximum dimensions of 52x40x23cm (1 piece for economy class, 2 pieces for business & first class). When there's no place to stash your hand luggage in the overhead lockers, they're placed into the hold of the plane. No dangerous or sharp items allowed - please don't carry your weapons with you.

  • If you require a wheelchair because you have reduced mobility, you may bring a wheelchair along.

Note that if there's no place on the plane for your baggage, then Airlink isn't going to compromise operational safety by flying it, instead they'll place it on the next available flight.

Airlink Flight routes

Airlink operates flight routes in Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  • From the 16th of August 2015 Airlink will offer three return flights daily between Wonderboom Airport (Pretoria) and Cape Town.

  • From the 2nd March 2014 Airlink is commencing flights to Skukuza in the Kruger National Park (originally planned for March 2014).

  • 20 January 2014 Airlink announce on the 7th November 2013 that they will be flying twice daily from Johannesburg to Gaborone, Mondays to Fridays.

Flights from Johannesburg to Antananarivo (Madagascar)

Flights from Johannesburg to Beira (Mozambique)

Flights to Bloemfontein

Cape Town to Bloemfontein

Johannesburg to Bloemfontein

Flights from Johannesburg to Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)

Flights to Cape Town

George to Cape Town

Kimberley to Cape Town

Upington to Cape Town

Nelspruit to Cape Town

Flights to Durban

Bloemfontein to Durban (Not Direct)

Maputo to Durban (Not Direct)

Nelspruit to Durban (Not Direct)

Flights to George

Cape Town to George

Durban to George

Johannesburg to Cape Town

Flights from Johannesburg to Harare (Zimbabwe, JNB-HRE)

Flights to Johannesburg

Antananarivo to Johannesburg

Beira to Johannesburg

Bulawayo to Johannesburg

Harare to Johannesburg

Lusaka to Johannesburg

Manzini to Johannesburg

Maseru to Johannesburg

Maun to Johannesburg

Ndola to Johannesburg

Nelspruit to Johannesburg

Pemba to Johannesburg

Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg

Polokwane to Johannesburg

Tete to Johannesburg

Upington to Johannesburg

Flights from Cape Town to Kimberley

Flights from Kruger to Livingstone (Not Direct)

Flights from Johannesburg to Lusaka (JNB-LUN, Zambia)

Flights from Johannesburg to Manzini (Swaziland with Swaziland Airlink)

Flights from Durban to Maputo (Mozambique)

Flights from Johannesburg to Maun (Botswana)

flights from Johannesburg to Ndola (Zambia)

Flights to Nelspruit

Cape Town to Nelspruit

Durban to Nelspruit (Not Direct)

Johannesburg to Nelspruit

Flights from Johannesburg to Pemba (Mozambique)

Flights to Port Elizabeth

Cape Town to Port Elizabeth

Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth

Bloemfontein to Port Elizabeth (Not Direct)

East London to Port Elizabeth

Flights from Johannesburg to Tete (Mozambique)

Flights to Upington

Cape Town to Upington

Johannesburg to Upington

Flights from Johannesburg to Maseru (Lesotho, JNB-MSU)

Flights from Johannesburg to Mthatha (Umtata, JNB-UTT)

Flights from Johannesburg to Pietermaritzburg (JNB-PZB)

Flights from Johannesburg to Vilanculos (JNB-VNX)

Head office

Airlink's head office is in Johannesburg's Ekurhuleni municipal area, at the Greenstone Hill Office Park.

Cabin crew

Advertisements are placed in the Sunday Times newspapers should vacancies arise. CVs are only accepted in response to advertisements. Vacancies are also listed under "contact us" on the Airlink website.

Statistics indicate that you are the first person to read to the bottom of this page! (jokes) - well done :) More seriously, if you haven't had any of your questions answered yet, then please ask away in the queries section below, so that we may help you with your Airlink reservation via SouthAfrica.TO.

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