South African Airways (SAA) has accepted Qantas’s decision to end their long-standing codeshare agreement.

From May, SAA will no longer operate direct flights from Johannesburg to Sydney, passengers will now have to travel via Perth.

The agreement came into effect in October 2000 after SAA stopped flying its own aircraft between Johannesburg and Sydney.

Code-sharing refers to an arrangement where passengers can purchase a seat from one airline and the seat is actually with a different airline. This allows an airline to offer routes that its craft do not fly to.

SAA’s general manager, Kendy Phohleli, said: “Australia and New Zealand remain important markets for SAA and its customers and although we no longer operate flights ourselves to Sydney, we will maintain our presence in the country through our own operations to Perth and all of our established partnerships.

“We have always worked well with Qantas and together we are looking at a smooth transition for the benefit of our respective clients which are both business and leisure travellers,” Phohleli said.

SAA has been flying to Sydney for more than 27 years before the code share with Qantas was put in place in October 2000. This followed the decision for SAA to stop operating between Johannesburg and Sydney with its own aircraft and to begin codesharing with Qantas.

SAA codeshare flights on Qantas’s Sydney operation will be off sale on February 21.

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