Skywise flight cancellation latest in SA low-cost air war

Skywise crew (Supplied)
Skywise crew (Supplied)

Cape Town - Fierce competition in the South African low cost airline sector caused an upheaval on Tuesday after some Skywise flights were cancelled.

"We are not grounded, we are flying as normal," Skywise co-chair Javed Malik told Fin24 on Tuesday afternoon.

"We will give a full report this afternoon. Both flights took off and are flying as normal. Nobody is making it easy for us. When we entered the market we thought it would be business as normal."

The flights involved were S8 101 from Johannesburg to Cape Town and S8 102 from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) told Fin24 it has no comment at this stage.

Skywise called a media briefing at 15:00 on Tuesday, presumably to address the issue of the grounded flights.

READ: Skywise flights cancelled but airline denies airline grounded

It is the latest entrant to the low-cost airline sector in SA and its co-chair Tabassum Qadir recently told Fin24 that healthy competition in the South African airline industry should not be at the expense of unity, growth and progress.

On Saturday, at the end of the annual general meeting of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (Aasa), she also proposed on behalf of Skywise that all airlines should work together to grow.

In fact Skywise co-CEO Irfan Pardesi proposed during a panel discussion by airline CEOs that a general air pass be introduced in South Africa so that travellers could use it on all airlines in the country.

Mango CEO - and former SAA acting CEO - Nico Bezuidenhout told Fin24 at the Aasa assembly that the price war in the South African low-cost airline industry will most likely continue until one or more of the current four carriers exit.

He said additional supply due to two new entrants - FlySafair last year and Skywise recently - created pressure on price points and has led to the price war among the carriers.

Comair CEO Erik Venter has also told Fin24 in the past that he sees the low-cost airline price war continuing until some competitors exit the market.

He also indicated that, despite the new capacity in the market, Comair maintained its passenger volumes, largely due to the strength of the kulula and British Airways brands and the company’s ongoing attention to service.

Elmar Conradie, CEO of Safair, parent company of FlySafair, told Fin24 at the Aasa assembly that his company does not really see a price war in progress with the three other low-cost airline competitors in the local industry.

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