FlySafair gets operating license


FlySafair has been granted a license for domestic scheduled passenger services, several months after it was grounded by the competition.

Safair announced that the South African Air Services Licensing Council (ASLC) has granted the domestic license, which is in addition to the international and domestic unscheduled licence that it held for almost 50 years, providing aviation services both domestically and internationally.
“Having now received our new schedule passenger licence, we are currently evaluating our options for the re-launch of FlySafair. Dates for the launch flight and ticket sales will be announced in due course,” said Dave Andrew, CEO of Safair.

The ASLC granted the license on March 31.

FlySafair had originally planned to launch operations on October 17 last year, but was stopped from doing so after two competitors succeeded in getting an interdict preventing it from launching, based on it not meeting South Africa’s 75% domestic ownership requirements.

Comair, together with the founders of 1time, in its objection to FlySafair, said the new carrier is owned by Irish group ASL Aviation and that the three South African directors with 75% of the voting rights are fronting for the company, which would be in violation of South African law that states that foreign entities may not own more than 25% of a domestic airline. Comair said director Hugh Flynn did not normally reside in South Africa as claimed by FlySafair.

Since then FlySafair has restructured its shareholding, getting rid of the shareholding which caused the problems and at the same time concluding the largest employee share ownership scheme in the aviation industry, effectively giving its South African employees a 25.14% stake in the company, Safair said.
“Despite FlySafair not having been operational since October 2013, the airline retained the services of all the employees who were hired 10 months ago, by utilising them in Safair’s traditional business of providing backup services to local airlines and also in international charter operations,” a Safair statement said.
“This demonstrates our commitment not only to job creation, but also sends a clear message that FlySafair is here for the long run. We are eager to provide South Africans with an alternate low cost airline that is dedicated to offering competitive and sustainable fares between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The FlySafair team looks forward to our passengers putting our promise of affordability and except ional service to the test,” said Andrew.

In August last year FlySafair announced it would offer up to ten flights a day between the key hubs of Cape Town and Johannesburg, using two Boeing 737-400 aircraft. The airline said it saw a gap in the market after the demise of 1time and Velvet Sky pushed the prices of airline tickets up, causing a drop in domestic traffic.