Kulula dares airlines over World Cup


Low cost airline kulula is challenging its South African rivals to lower their airfares during the World Cup.

“The World Cup should not be seen as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme,” it says, just days after being accused by rival 1time of overcharging passengers flying from Lanseria International Airport and a fortnight after the Competition Commission launched a probe into allegations of price-fixing, based in part on an email sent by Comair CE Erik Venter to his competitors in late November. Comair owns kulula as well as a British Airways franchise. Comair has denied wrongdoing.
“Since the World Cup draw, at the beginning of December 2009, kulula.com has consistently offered the lowest airfares during the tournament,” the company says in a statement issued yesterday. An additional 28 000 seats, mostly on its new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, have already been added to cater for World Cup fans.

The airline adds an additional 15 000 seats are available if demand for World Cup seats grows. “It’s our policy to rather add more flights than to rely on pushing prices up. Many of the additional seats have been added, to and from Lanseria [airport], which has proved to be a popular choice for World Cup travellers for its ease of use and low cost flights. Flights from that airport during June 2010 are still being sold from as little as R419.”
kulula says even though there has been “a lot of whinging and misinformation” from one of its competitors about its fares out of Lanseria, this competitor’s fares from OR Tambo International Airport were higher than those from Lanseria. “Over the World Cup period they are three times higher,” kulula.com alleges.
1time earlier this week said it will take its complaint about an exclusivity agreement between kulula and Lanseria to the Competition Tribunal. In terms of the agreement that expires in March next year, kulula has a veto over any other airline wishing to offer scheduled flights out of the airport.

Pic: A Boeing 737-800 in new livery unveiled yesterday.