New York-based JetBlue Airways and South African Airways (SAA) have expanded their codeshare agreement to include flights between Washington DC and Dakar, Senegal—a move that enables SAA to sell tickets to American government workers and contractors under terms of the Fly America Act.
The move comes roughly six months after JetBlue began placing its B6 code on SAA flights between two US gateways—New York and Washington—and several African cities including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. SAA also has been placing its code on JetBlue flights from the Eastern US since 2011.
JetBlue is not particularly strong at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)—it offers seven daily departures mainly to New York and Boston. However, SAA asked the US carrier to add Dakar to the codeshare relationship, SAA VP-North American sales & marketing Todd Neuman said. JetBlue’s other codeshare partner at IAD—United Airlines—was not able to codeshare on the Dakar route. “Any US government travel that is traveling under the Fly America Act has to utilize a US carrier or foreign flag carrier that codeshares with a US carrier,” Neuman explained. “For that reason, it was very important to have this agreement.”
The market, however, is relatively small. Neuman said there’s an estimated 1,800 government passengers flying each year between Washington and Dakar. “There’s also residual traffic because corporations that are flying under government contracts are also required to utilize the Fly America Act,” he said.
SAA is the only carrier flying nonstop between the US and Dakar.
JetBlue has recently moved beyond one-way codeshare agreements and has been putting its code on international flights. It has a similar bilateral codeshare agreement with Emirates Airline for flights to Europe and the Middle East. It has also applied to place its code on Singapore Airlines flights to several destinations in Europe and Asia.