Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Fly to 18 destinations in Southern Africa with a new British Airways codeshare

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The final collapse of Comair, back in 2022, left a bit of a gap in the British Airways South Africa network.

Previously, British Airways offered a number of onward connections from Johannesburg and Cape Town through Comair. It operated its own aircraft under a British Airways franchise agreement with BA branding.

Flights included Durban, Port Elizabeth and international connections to Windhoek, Mauritius and Harare.

British Airways Airlink codeshare

If you’ve never flown Comair, it was a fascinating experience.  You were on a BA-branded aircraft with crew in British Airways uniform, operating to BA service standards.

In 2020, Comair hit some turbulence as a result of the pandemic and entered Business Rescue, similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US. This allowed it to raise new money and relaunch operations.

Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and the airline collapsed for good in June 2022, leaving British Airways without convenient flight connections within Southern Africa.

British Airways signs a codeshare deal with Airlink

Eight months later, British Airways has found a solution by partnering with African airline Airlink which offers flights to more than 45 destinations.

British Airways will offer codeshare services on 18 of these routes. Any codeshare flights booked as a connection to a British Airways international leg will continue to earn Avios and tier points, as if it was operated by British Airways.

There are two things you cannot do:

  • redeem Avios for Airlink flights
  • book Airlink flights with a BA flight number, to earn Avios or tier points, if you are not connecting to a British Airways long haul service on the same ticket
British Airways Airlink codeshare

You will arrive on time to your destination according to the press release:

“Airlink has consistently been the most on-time domestic airline over the last three years, with its fleet of more than 60 modern jetliners achieving a 95.52% average on-time performance in 2022.”

Destinations included in the first wave of the codeshare agreement are:

  • Bloemfontein
  • Durban
  • East London
  • George Airport
  • Hoedspruit
  • Kimberley
  • Nelspruit
  • Pietermaritzburg
  • Polokwane
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Richards Bay
  • Sishen
  • Skukuza
  • Umtata
  • Upington
  • Windhoek
  • Walvis Bay

Airlink predominantly operates a fleet of Embraer jet aircraft, so you should get an experience similar to that on BA CityFlyer. A complimentary meal service is also provided.

You can now book on the British Airways website here, for travel from 15th February.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (34)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • elt says:

    nb Airlink flights from CT to Durban all have stops eg JNB for 1.30hrs so presumably plane change involved enroute.

  • Novice says:

    My domestic flights are on cemair when I go to SA in a few months. Does anyone have any experience on them? Would like to know.

    • William says:

      Cemair is also good and reliable with pleasing in-flight service. Limited carry-on space on their CRJs is offset by the ability to ‘skycheck’ cases at the aircraft door and collect them as you disembark.

  • Joan Sheppard says:

    Just searched for JNB to Windhoek in August and BA states no flights available ?

  • Rob Collins says:

    FYI-The name Port Elizabeth no longer exists. It was renamed Gqeberha a couple of years ago. I’m sure that there are You Tube videos which will tell you how to pronounce it…

  • TeflonMan says:

    Any ideas whether Airlink would let you get away with the same generous hand luggage allowance as BA? I have an aversion to checking luggage and have previously done 2 1/2 weeks SA hand luggage only.

    • newbie says:

      They’re pretty strict in my experience, hand luggage limited to 8kg. Also, (mostly) small planes with little storage space.

    • William says:

      Airlink allow generous carry-on baggage in business class as well as skycheck service at the aircraft door for their smaller ERJs.

  • Boi says:

    Pity Maun is not on the list.

  • DA says:

    JNB to CPT? Airlink fly it constantly, but it’s not on the list. So a RTW which includes HKG-JNB-CPT is no longer possible? I did it numerous times with Comair using an AONE4.

  • Cands says:

    I’d love the Heathrow to Durban direct flight to come back. Is there any hope for this year?

    • Rhys says:

      I wouldn’t bet any money on that coming back, at all, in the next five years. BA simply don’t have the aircraft to warrant niche routes like that.

    • William says:

      BA’s Heathrow – Durban 787 service is due to be reinstated in late 2023/24.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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