All Velvet Sky flights cancelled

2012-02-23 16:14

Johannesburg - A business dispute caused all Velvet Sky flights on Thursday to be cancelled, the low-cost airline said.

"We had to cancel all our flights today," Velvet Sky spokesperson Gary Webb said.

"We are in a dispute with a service provider. We are in the process of changing service providers so we started that process today [Thursday], but it was not concluded in time to operate."

The broad-based black economic empowerment company is based in Durban and flies between that city, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Earlier on Thursday, the airline apologised and said flights were only delayed not cancelled.

Velvet Sky said the delays, which started on Wednesday, were caused by circumstances beyond its control.

"Velvet Sky management however continues to work very hard in ensuring that there is minimal disruption in our operation."

Airports Company SA (Acsa) confirmed the delays.

Acsa spokesperson Solomon Makgale said Wednesday's delays were primarily out of Cape Town. The delays on Thursday were from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Webb said passengers would be reimbursed on merit. Some people would receive refunds and others flights to their destination on other airlines.

"We are going to have a bit of a backlog because of today, but we should be okay."

He advised customers to check their flights on the Velvet Sky website or phone the call centre. The airline would also contact passengers via SMS.

"We are doing our best to keep all our passengers accommodated," Webb said.

  • Henri - 2012-02-23 16:19

    are we to expect a taxi strike next week then ???

      Anton - 2012-02-23 16:22

      I think that you are thinking of SANTACO airlines, which cannot be grounded as they have yet to take to the skies!

      Henri - 2012-02-23 16:29

      @Anton, i wouldn`t hold my breath to even see that taking off. BBBEE or Taxi Airplane, all the same in anyway

      John - 2012-02-23 17:39

      South Africa's first 100% BEE airline's touched down Well Done Stephen Nthite !!!

      Herman - 2012-02-24 09:15

      Clearly not the brightest crayon in the box. Research first, type later.

      Hallo - 2012-02-24 09:44

      Zoolie - you and the ppl that thumbed up are scary stupid.

  • Mike - 2012-02-23 16:19

    OK Lerato, referring to the previous comment. "The taxi crashed........!?!?!"

  • Anton - 2012-02-23 16:20

    This has been handled worse that the Woolies-Frankies debacle. If they had just told the truth from the beginning then we could be more sympathetic.

  • Gideon - 2012-02-23 16:22

    You are BANKRUPT! You are in a dispute with your service provider, Gary, because YOU. DID. NOT. PAY. THEM! How can you change from SAA Technical to "another service provider"? Who the hell is going to do your maintanance if you can't pay your previous supplier? Stop talking crap and give your clients, and the public, the facts: Velvet Sky is history. How many more times will this sad excuse for an airline grind to a halt before the public shows it the middle-finger and takes their business elsewhere? There are so many better choices on the market.

      Gerhard - 2012-02-23 16:27

      Thank you for clearing that up Gideon. They have been very evasive in naming the "service provider". It all sounds like a bit of bullsh@t to me. It sounds like they are bankrupt. Running an airline is NOT the same as running a spaza shop.

      Gideon - 2012-02-23 17:31

      Please be aware that their website is still accepting bookings. There is no guarantee that any flight you book on Velvet will actually ever depart. Vote carefully with your money my fellow citizens, this bet isn't safe.

      Roger - 2012-02-23 23:06

      100% Correct Gideon To all the Cape Argus Guys & Gals - You won't be flying Velvet !!! Make alternative arrangements soonest

      Gungets - 2012-02-24 13:40

      BP has applied for provisional liquidation. Velvet is gone, gone, gone.

  • marais.malan - 2012-02-23 16:25

    I stopped reading when at the phrase "Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Company" No need to say anything further!!!

      Henri - 2012-02-23 16:27

      and it still surpises them why everyone thinks like that

      Philip - 2012-02-23 16:29

      Exactly, need we say more!

      Leon - 2012-02-23 17:42

      A BEE can still fly, and has quite a sting as well. But this BBBEE sounds like a stuttering little thing like a small lawnmower - it stands on the the lawn and make a hell of a lot of noise and smoke but achieves exactly BBBuggalEE!

      pat.gilliat - 2012-02-24 08:33

      Leon, you gave me my Friday morning laugh! I love that BBBuggallee!!

  • Irene - 2012-02-23 16:25


  • Thoka - 2012-02-23 16:27

    lol!!!!!!!!! clever move, this is nationwide in velvet skin.

      Lebo - 2012-02-23 16:57

      Nice one, hehehe...

      Dmitri - 2012-02-23 17:02

      Thoka, if you look at the operations staff, 90% of them are ex Nationwide. It would not surprise me if Vernon Bricknell has a few fingers in this little pie !!!

  • Kevin - 2012-02-23 16:28

    Didnt pay your toll fees

  • George - 2012-02-23 16:36

    @ Anton.......and you got your info where....please explain....... as far as i know ( and i stand under correction) they had that big launch at Lanseria last sure its them...........and they where only fying to the Eastern i thought who want to go there when they are broke............oh damn.....this could be a long story...

      Gideon - 2012-02-23 16:42

      SANTACO only had 1 flight: its inaugural one operated by Airquarius. They do not own any aircraft, and they do no own Velvet Sky at present. SANTACO have not flown since.

      Leon - 2012-02-23 18:04

      You're deurmekaar boet!

      Nicola Killops - 2012-02-23 20:08

      And SANTACO have already asked government for a handout. I guess they saw 'our national carrier' getting all the bailouts and figured starting an airline was the way to go, regardless of whether or not you actually fly.

  • jessica.schnehage - 2012-02-23 16:39

    How do they reckon they will decide who gets what as recompense based on merit? As a result of the Velvet Sky fleet being grounded, Tidal Waves will not be able to perform tonight in aid of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with aKING, Karen Zoid and Hot Water to name but a few. We are very disappointed that alternative arrangements could not be made to get us to Cape Town, and even that a refund was not possible at the time in order for us to book alternative tickets. This incident has not only inconvenienced the artist, who has been at the airport since 6h30am, but will also cause disappointment amongst their fans -bringing harm to the artist as well as the event they would have performed at this evening. We expect full repayment of the flight cost, the cost of the band getting themselves to the airport and back for no reason as well as compensation for the inconvenience as well as the consequences of them not being able to fulfill the contractual obligations that they were willing and ready to fulfill. I am sure most people on these flights had important things to do and places to be, like weddings, funerals, you know. So whose case has greater merit? No one received another flight on another airline as far as I know. Everyone stood around waiting and hoping Velvet Sky would make a plan. Nothing happened. Everyone has to be reimbursed and compensated the same here, not just those with 'merit.'

      Roger - 2012-02-23 23:12

      Tidal Waves, aKING, Karen Zoid and Hot Water - No loss here

  • Vaal-Donkie - 2012-02-23 16:45

    Ja ne, the beauty of BBBBBBEBEEEEEEEE without even a rudimentary meritocracy to back it up.

      Shilly Maelane - 2012-02-23 18:52

      LMAO... @ BBBEEEEEE...

  • guyt1 - 2012-02-23 16:51


  • alain.d.thomas - 2012-02-23 16:54

    Velvet is'nt that SMOOTH after all

  • Peter - 2012-02-23 16:55

    Its bloody amazing how it happens Im busy watching the biggest company in its sector go belly up It was the most successful of all but 18 months ago a BBBEEE(whatever) sell out its now history but the owners have new luxury cars

  • brainbowgold - 2012-02-23 16:55

    This is really very disappointing – Velvet Sky being a broad-based black economic empowerment company. Should the company survive this branding blunder it is hoped that the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will reassure passengers that it is safe to fly Velvet Sky, noting that floored business decisions in the airline industry traditionally result in deaths and bankruptcy.

      Dmitri - 2012-02-23 17:06

      They should do what SAA does: go with the begging bowl to government. Sure, SAA says it is not a bail out but for expansion. BS!! All other private carriers plan for expansion and cannot go to government for money (our taxes by the way). Bye Bye Velvet. Here is hoping SAA follows suit. I voted with my feet and do not fly SAA anymore. Voyager card means nothing.

      schalkjburger - 2012-02-23 17:32

      And you think anyone has any confidence in CAA!? oh brother!

  • George - 2012-02-23 17:03

    sorry , go it it wrong about velvet sky....apologies........

  • Pawel - 2012-02-23 17:30

    BBEE doesnt work...

  • Gaynor Folgore - 2012-02-23 17:53


  • Christopher - 2012-02-23 18:02

    News 24. As per your headline. It was not cancelled as stated in the article, but merely delayed. Goodness gracious.

      nick.weigl - 2012-02-23 18:31

      where do you get this info from deegs? care to elaborate?

      Berthram Bowles - 2012-02-23 18:36

      uhm, christopher... go to the airport... u will soon notice that all flights of this airline has indeed been cancelled after being delayed... goodness gracious

      Roger - 2012-02-23 23:19

      CANCELLED BOET !!!! No "Monetary" refunds as per their policy Get your facts straight

  • Leon - 2012-02-23 18:02

    Amazingly (not) their website doesn't even mention that they're grounded!

  • Given Zeni Makalima - 2012-02-23 19:06

    ncncncnc some people never seize to amaze.all that most people saw in this article was BEE and nothing else.obviously thinking on racial basis;forgeting about companies like Nationwide etc Guys if u stop seeing black or white on every article then maybe south africa stands a better chance of becoming a better country. I wish some of u guys knew the whole story properly as some ppl do before uttering nonsensical statements.nxm

      Lanfear - 2012-02-24 10:05

      I agree with you Given! It also grieves me to see the gleeful commentary, actual happiness by some that a BEE company failed. Funny that I don't see any of those comments when a white-run company such as Nationwide [as you mentioned] fails, then these commentators are quiet. @ Johan Grobbelaar - there are black pilots used by various airlines.

  • Johan Grobbelaar - 2012-02-23 19:15

    So why haven't I seen a Velvet Sky plane with a black pilot yet? Lollll.

  • Kevin - 2012-02-23 21:25

    Have there planes been serviced?Sounds like the service providers haven't.

  • pal.mabelane - 2012-02-23 22:20

    Again I say,SA Roadlink and Velvet Sky...check the common denominator.

  • Leendert - 2012-02-23 22:29

    Fortunately it's only an airline, so customer faith is not that important...

  • Sarah - 2012-02-24 05:31

    Another reason why we should use reputable operators, not some new airline that has no reputation to protect. Shame for the folk who's day got ruined compliments of velvet sky.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-02-24 06:01

    bwahahahahahahahaha!!!! did they even get off the ground? Knew this would happen...

  • godesha - 2012-02-24 06:28

    Epic BEE fail.

  • LekkePerd - 2012-02-24 08:44

    Nice TAX Write off before end Feb 2012. Do we realy need another cheap Airline???

  • JC - 2012-02-24 08:52

    Velvet now on AFRICA TIME, not delayed or grounded

  • Scebberish - 2012-02-24 10:18

    So the velvet turned out to be black bin bags?!

  • Annelene - 2012-02-24 10:20

    Got family stuck at OR due to delay/whatever. Luggage already in aircraft's hull which means they can't even opt for another flight (guess the cost of another ticket...R3 000+ a person) Can i turn into a conspiracy theorist here? Police apparently made some appearance and arrests. Velvet Sky or Velvet Lies?

  • Skerparabie - 2012-02-24 10:21


  • Comrade - 2012-02-24 10:21

    When is the BILLION RAND bailout????

      Comrade - 2012-02-24 10:22


  • rhenier - 2012-02-24 10:37


  • phathuchicos - 2012-02-24 10:47

    I knew it...the incompetetive tax hungry hehemoth SAA is making it hard for small private airlines to compete on the domestic market...shame on them. Even KULULA and 1time are having the same problems because all the taxes they pay are bailing out competetition.

  • Treyzo - 2012-02-24 11:13

    anything runned by black people never realy work or only work for a certain period but why is that.

      Colin - 2012-02-24 11:40

      @Treyzo, well mate in Orania everything is white runned so what you waiting for?

  • Riegardt Van Heerden - 2012-02-24 11:15

    Dispute with a service provider? Lets just call a spade a spade or in this case unpaid accounts!

  • Akal - 2012-02-24 11:35

    Gary Webb is the COO, he should have given more information. Stephen Nthite (Chairman) Dhevan Pillay (CEO) Gary Webb (COO) Paul Green (Director Flight Operations) Captain Neil Brough (Chief Training Captain) And what does BEE have to do with anything???

      Jennifer - 2012-02-24 11:58

      According to the "blurb" when they launched it is a "broad based black empowered" airline. Certainly their plane, when I flew looked like a taxi from the townships with duct tape holding the broken trays in place!

  • Gordon - 2012-02-24 11:45

    Poor planning due to incompetent staff

  • Corne - 2012-02-24 12:11

    My sister is going to miss my wedding because of this. I'm getting married at 16:00

  • Corne - 2012-02-24 12:11

    My soon to be wife at 16:00 sister is going to miss our wedding because of this.

      Kai - 2012-02-24 12:36

      Are you marrying your other sister then as first your sister was going to miss your wedding then your wife to be's sister is going to miss the wedding.

  • jerry.mamabolo - 2012-02-24 12:25

    I guess that is the reality of the airline industry then. It is a dog eat dog world I tell you. Do yourself a great favor and read Richard Brandson's struggles in the industry to appreciate the Velvet troubles.

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