Thursday, 17 April 2014

Safair Granted Domestic Air Services Licence

Good new for air travellers is that Safair have finally been granted a Domestic Air Services Licence, after legal challenges to their original application.

Safair have re-engineered their shareholding structure to comply with local ownership principles, and have introduced an employee ownership scheme.

There is not as yet any news regarding start dates, but it is unlucky for consumers that they have missed the Easter rush. May is traditionally a poor month for domestic air travel, so we would expect first flights in June/July.

It is understood that Safair are in a high state of readiness, as a result of their efforts in 2013. The expectation is that 2 Boeing 737 aircraft would operate an initial schedule of 4-6 daily return flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Initial reaction from Comair is that passengers should not expect to see lower fares. However, historically there have always been good bargains on offer when a new airline entrant starts operating, and there is no obvious reason why this should not be true in this case.

Safair established good rapport in the social media during its initial aborted launch and so the public will probably show some support for the new services.

You can read the full Safair press release here:

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

No joy for Skywise

The travel press are reporting, and Skywise founders have confirmed, that the Air Services Licencing Council have rejected a request by Skywise for an extension of their Domestic Air Services Licence. Basically this means that the whole process will have to be restarted if Skywise still wishes to commence operations. The official reason given by the council for the rejection is that Skywise has failed to obtain an AOC.

Industry insiders have suggested that the failure to take off is possibly due to a failure to raise sufficient start-up capital funding.

In an interview, one of the founders, Rodney James, suggested that they are still pursuing alternative avenues and hinted at some form of co-operation. Other projects which may be candidates for a joint venture include Fastjet, Santaco, Safair, and FlyAfrica.

Conditions in the domestic air market in South Africa remain tight, despite Comair posting exceptionally good results, and ordering new aircraft. There have, however been a few small developments in the feeder service segment which could eventually lead to meaningful competition.