New low-cost airline gets its wings, but not ready for takeoff

A NEW low-cost airline has received the nod to brave South African skies, butFlySafair is not taking off just yet.

The airline’s website yesterday promised to keep prospective passengers in the loop and chief executive Dave Andrew said it would take some time.

“We only received our new licence on March 31 and we are evaluating how long it will take to ramp up operations and also the impact of the travel seasons in South Africa on possible launch dates,” Andrew said.

Competitors Comair, which operates, and the previous owners of 1Time objected last year to FlySafair being granted a licence, saying the airline was above the legal threshold of 25% foreign ownership. Comair chief executive Erik Venter also claimed at the time that FlySafair was a front and that granting it a licence would allow a foreign company to enter the South African market.

FlySafair had since “got rid of the shareholding which caused the problems”, it said yesterday.

The company also claims it has concluded the largest employee share ownership scheme in the aviation industry, effectively giving its South African employees a 25.14% stake in the company.

- TJ Strydom