City’s new air, rail links

2010-06-08 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality has given approval for a second airline to operate from Oribi Airport.

Known as Go-Air, the airline is expected to run three daily return flights between the city and Lanseria Airport in Gauteng from next month.

Within three months, Go-Air will consider providing a business jet to fly between the city and Cape Town.

Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler said the current service is limited because “only one airline has been operating a scheduled service for many years. This resulted in high ticket prices, and the unreliability of flights.”

Mettler said that as part of their turnaround strategy, a team of officials from the KZN Provincial Treasury led by Clive Coetzee met Go-Air’s management to finalise the deal.

Coetzee said the city has been serviced by one airline, Airlink, for many years and the limited service has resulted in many complaints from the public and municipality.

He said Go-Air “will operate 30-seater aircraft of similar size to those operated presently by Airlink. It is applying initially to CAA for three return flights per day to Lanseria, and one on Sundays. It is anticipated that flights to Cape Town will be added within three months.”

A report by municipal enterprises manager Dr Julie Dyer states that if the routes become viable and are supported by local businesspeople and residents, it will help boost the municipality’s revenue from passenger levies and aircraft landing fees.

“This could be of the order of [R1 million a year] if the planes operate at 50% capacity, which would help to improve the profitability of the airport,” she said.

Dyer said that there will be no need for extra firefighting services because Go-Air’s aircraft will be of a similar size to those of Airlink, which are suitable for a Category Four airport like Oribi.

“It is noted that this does not preclude other new airlines from making similar approaches to council,” she states.

 

According to the airline’s business plan drawn up in February, the application for an operating licence from the Civil Aviation Authority as well as approval from the department of Transport is under way.

Dyer added that “we have been given an indication that we should be in a position to commence operations by 1 July”.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO Andrew Layman said he is under the impression that the airline will begin operating to Cape Town in September, but the chamber is very pleased, nevertheless.

He said he knows that Go-Air has yet to get its operating licence, but the municipality has already given it office space at Oribi Airport.

“A number of people have expressed a desire for a service to Cape Town, but it’s one that will be determined by the economic situation.

“Whether it will be one flight a day or one flight a week remains to be seen.

“The airline will have to test the waters first,” Layman said.

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