New budget airline to take to the skies

 (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Johannesburg - A new budget airline is set to start operating from Johannesburg and Cape Town in the second half of the year, it was reported on Thursday.

The airline, Skywise, sought to cut the costs of flying domestically by as much as 20%, its financial director Glenn Orsmond told the Business Day newspaper.

Orsmond is the former founding director of the airline, 1time, which went into provisional liquidation in November. Skywise is also headed by former 1time CEO Rodney James, with Michael Kaminski, Johan Borstlap and Wayne Duvenage.

The newspaper reported that the airline was granted an air service license on Monday, and now had to embark on the process of getting an air operator certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Orsmond reportedly dismissed claims by other domestic carriers that there was a capacity oversupply.

When Fastjet, the subsidiary of London-based Lonrho, applied to take over 1time's air service licence, SA Airways subsidiary Mango objected, and said this would threaten the sector's profitability, citing the failure of Velvet Sky and 1time.

However, Orsmond said there was "an oversupply of expensive seats".

"If you bring down prices you will find the demand," he told Business Day.

James told the newspaper Skywise planned to lease two Boeing 737-300s for its initial start service and would offer three daily flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Plans were also afoot to add two more planes later to service Durban, and the Port Elizabeth-East London routes.

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