New airline plans to fly daily from Cape Town to London Gatwick

2013-10-07 09:19
A new Botswana-based start-up airline, Kalahari Airways is planning to launch daily flights from Cape Town to London Gatwick, with a 30-minute stopover in Gaborone - from as early as 2014. But pretty much like fastjet, FlySaFair and Skywise - this industry player has some red tape to deal with.

reports Kalahari Airlines intends to deploy three ex-Qantas B747-400s on the route but still requires a sizeable sponsored contribution in order to realise the proposed expansion into South Afirca.

The report states the airline requires a lease purchase facility of $30 million (about R300 million at R10.01/$) for the acquisition of the Qantas planes, as well as a standby facility of $10m in order to comply with the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana’s (CAAB) working capital minimums.

CEO, Denis Coghlan is said to be looking at a crowd-funding campaign to raise the necessary "25% of the sponsor’s contribution to qualify for funding by Botswana Development Corporation".

Denis told Travel Buyer he has been contemplating the launch of flights since the day British Airways ceased operations on the GBE-LON route and refutes claims that BA pulled the route because it was unsuccessful.

He believes the number of available passengers has tripled since British Airways operated the route in 2012, with an estimated 36 000 passengers at the time.

Dennis also feels an added advantage of the proposed route is that passengers can “avoid the inconvenience of transiting through Johannesburg where they need to undergo multiple security checks”.

Future expansion plans include the launch of a DUR-HKG route via Gaborone. The airline also aims to link to the US with regular flights to New York and Los Angeles via Shannon Airport in Ireland.

Update on other industry players planning to launch in South Africa

Skywise, a new low-cost airline started by the founders of 1time, announced it plans to sell tickets at a quarter of the expected cost of the popular Johannesburg-Cape Town route. Rodney James, executive head of Skywise, said that they were planning on using proper low-cost business models to lower ticket costs by about 25%. As yet, an official launch date still has to be set as the airline awaits Civil Aviation Authority approval for an air operator certificate.

New pan-African budget airline fastjet, which was due to launch flights between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg at the end of September, has had to issue refunds as the route has been temporarily postponed. The postponement was due to the South African Department of Transport requesting additional documentation for the licensing and regulatory process the airline said in a statement.

The newest airline to join the queue to service South African passengers is FlySafair. It started selling tickets in September for its Johannesburg to Cape Town route at an estimated cost R798 despite a competitor threatening court action against it claim that it is an entirely South African owned airline.

When headed to the UK would you opt to bypass OR Tambo, to fly via Gaborone? Email us your opinion on

Read more on:    flysafair  |  fastjet  |  botswana  |  cape town  |  johannesburg  |  flights  |  travel south africa  |  travel international  |  aviation

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