FlySafair is back; to fly in mid-October


South Africa’s newest low cost airline, FlySafair, will take to the skies by mid-October, after having been granted its domestic scheduled passenger services license earlier this year. The airline was originally scheduled to begin flying last year but was blocked by competitors.

“I can proudly say that we have officially re-launched ticket sales today and that we will be in the skies by mid?October,” FlySafair CEO Dave Andrew said in a statement at the beginning of this week.

Andrew said regular fares between Cape Town and Johannesburg would start from R499 and between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth would start from R399. These fares “are not just opening specials or marketing showstoppers to announce the start?up”.

FlySafair will charge passengers a base rate to secure a seat and allow passengers two pieces of carry-on luggage (a bag and a personal item weighing no more than 7 kg in total). Catering, check-in luggage, pre-booked seats etc. will cost extra.
“Further to this, we remain committed to providing the most competitive and affordable fares in the market and have no doubt that our re?entry will drive industry prices down in general,” Andrew stated.

The first flight between Cape Town and Johannesburg is scheduled for takeoff on 16 October – almost exactly a year since the airline originally planned to start flying. However, it 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 was 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 a large employee share ownership scheme, effectively giving its South African employees a 25.14% stake in the company, Safair said.

As a result of these changes, the South African Air Services Licensing Council (ASLC) granted the carrier its domestic license on March 31. Safair has possessed an international and domestic unscheduled licence for almost 50 years.

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.

Safair has been going for nearly 50 years, providing aircraft leasing, charter, training and maintenance services. It has operated aircraft on behalf of numerous airlines when their aircraft have been out of service.