Cape Town - Airlink, the biggest privately-owned regional airline in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region, has sold a 32.51% stake of the company in a landmark broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction.
The airline's new investor is the Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust, which acquired the stake in Airlink through its investment arm Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust (SIOC-cdt) Investment Holdings.
Airlink CEO Rodger Foster said the enhancement to Airlink's empowerment credentials will provide the company with a number of key competitive advantages.
"Airlink is now firmly positioned on the forefront of transformation in the aviation industry.
"The company's shareholding now exceeds the criteria committed to in the air transport sector B-BBEE charter, and qualifies Airlink to secure additional ntra-Africa regional routes as designated by the International Air Services Licensing Council."
Foster said the B-BBEE transaction has forged a relationship that will benefit all parties concerned.
"We are excited about the opportunity to work with an empowerment partner with SIOC's credentials and broad-based representation. We expect Airlink's financial performance to make a meaningful contribution to the beneficiaries of SIOC-cdt."
SIOC was established in August 2006 during the unbundling of Kumba Resources into Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro.
It is a broad-based black community trust created solely to benefit communities around the Sishen, Sishen South and Thabazimbi mines. These communities include more than 300 000 families.
"There are wonderful synergies between SIOC and Airlink, with SIOC having been spun from the mining sector with continued investment interests in the sector, and with Airlink offering scheduled air services to many mining industrial destinations throughout Sadc – there is every prospect that new route opportunities will be identified and explored," said Foster.
Connie Molusi, the chairperson and a trustee of SIOC, said in a statement: "We are thrilled to work with the dedicated staff and management team of Airlink and being a key player in accelerating transformation within the country's aviation industry."
Airlink flies to 29 destinations within Sadc, including several in South Africa.