South African Airways (SAA) and Air Mauritius have been granted permission to form a joint venture on the route between Johannesburg and Mauritius route as well as other related routes, the Competition Commission announced on Thursday.
The exemption has primarily been granted because it promotes exports from South Africa, the Commission says.
The two airlines will pool the revenue and costs associated with the provision of commercial passenger and cargo services on the route between Mauritius and Johannesburg and related destinations.
The joint venture will enable the two airlines to access new markets, which may not have been economically feasible in the past. It will also help them to create efficiencies that would not otherwise be possible, according to a statement by the Commission.
"It is expected that the joint venture will equally benefit the South African economy as it will lead to increased foreign currency earnings, improved capacity utilisation and employment, increased passenger numbers, increased cargo capacity and increasing the route network in new markets," states the Commission.
The two airlines can now synchronise passenger and cargo capacity and expand their joint networks.
The exemption, in terms of the Competition Act, allows them to collaborate on the network, scheduling, revenue management and distribution across both carriers. This will enhance their existing bilateral offering.
Carla da Silva, who heads up Air Mauritius Southern Africa and Latin America, recently told Fin24 that she estimates that more than 300 million people will be travelling from, to, and within Africa in the next 20 years.