Empowering South Africa: The AmCham - RMB Series on U.S. Corporate Impact feat. Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines - connecting people, businesses and continents.

The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and RMB have partnered to showcase how U.S. companies are driving social and economic impact in South Africa and on the continent. This month we feature Delta Air Lines, one of the world’s largest and most respected airlines that has been serving South Africa for over 16 years.

Delta considers South Africa a crucial market

Shareen Akoodie, General Manager of Delta Air Lines Southern Africa says, “Over the past decade we have seen the South African market grow from strength to strength. For this reason, Delta now operates ten nonstop flights per week year-round from Johannesburg and Cape Town using our flagship Airbus A350-900 aircraft.”

This is a direct result of the burgeoning trade relationship between the two countries. Akoodie adds, “South Africa will always be an important market for Delta. The US remains one of South Africa’s largest trade partners and is a major source market, giving way to significant regional influence which helps boost socio-economic development across the region. With the positioning of South Africa as an entryway to other countries and markets in sub-Saharan Africa, it also reinforces the transatlantic network into the region.”

An airline defined by social purpose

Delta’s work in South Africa is underpinned by a strong social purpose. Delta Air Lines engages in various charitable initiatives globally, focusing on community development, education, environmental sustainability, and disaster relief efforts. Akoodie says, “We are deeply committed to corporate responsibility and sustainability, with initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions, conserving resources, and supporting local communities. Whether it is for business or leisure, Delta facilitates the connections that drive our global economy, foster cultural exchange, and we are proudly leading the charge towards a more sustainable future for aviation.”

From a social impact point of view, an international partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and Breast Cancer International (BCI) in Africa drives Delta’s continued fight against breast cancer through fundraising and awareness campaigns. Delta also partners with Junior Achievement in Africa to empower youth through education and entrepreneurship, providing the skills training and mentorship that fosters economic development and opportunities for young people across the continent. In South Africa, Delta is a long-standing supporter of the Amy Foundation, Reach for a Dream and Quadcare.

Three impactful projects in South Africa

Akoodie shares more on Delta’s social impact in South Africa: “The positive social impact on our society made by all three of these organizations is huge! Firstly, by fostering a sense of hope, resilience, and community, the Amy foundation continues to honor Amy Biehl's legacy by making a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of South Africa's youth and creating a brighter future for the next generation.”

She continues, “Secondly, with the support of volunteers and donors, Reach for a Dream makes dreams a reality for children facing serious health conditions. Through these experiences, the organization inspires courage and resilience in young children, allowing them to find moments of happiness amidst their challenges.”

Finally, by lifting the financial burden and ensuring access to vital supplies, Quadcare enhances the quality of life for those affected by quadriplegia and paves their way for brighter prospects. This makes a lasting difference not just in the life of the quadriplegic, but also strengthens their entire support system and creates a society that embraces empathy, support, and inclusivity for all. The impact of Quadcare is of personal relevance to Quadcare’s founder, who has a deep personal connection to quadriplegia.

Delta Air Lines is committed to the economic prosperity of South Africa and the African continent as a whole. As they continue to expand on the continent, they are consciously growing their social impact in areas that are of deep relevance to the company. Akoodie concludes, “We whole-heartedly believe in the organisations we support, and the incredibly important work that they do in their respective spheres, and so for as long as we are able to do so, we will continue to support the meaningful and positive impact that they have on our society.”