Skywise co-chair denies fleet withdrawal

Skywise crew (Supplied)
Skywise crew (Supplied)

Cape Town - Skywise's fleet has not been withdrawn and the low cost airline is still operating its six daily flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town, co-chair Tabassum Qadir told Fin24 on Tuesday afternoon.

She said media reports that its only aircraft was withdrawn due to non-payment was not factually correct.

"Skywise is operating according to our schedule as announced on October 20 and no further revisions have been made since then," she emphasised.

"The fleet has not been withdrawn. We had a technical issue with one aircraft, which led to a dispute with one of our lessors. We have already signed a new lease with another lessor for two aircraft."

As for the recent resignation of Irfan Pardesi as co-chief executive officer of Skywise, Qadir said Pardesi had decided not to continue as he was unable to take the pressure due to the politics in the local aviation industry.

She will in the meantime assume his position until a suitable candidate to replace him can be appointed.

"We are still flying thanks to the support of the South African public," she said.

Fin24 has reported in the past on the current "war" among low cost airlines in the country.

In October Skywise bemoaned what it regarded as unfair treatment by two of its suppliers - Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) after some of its flights were cancelled for non-payment. The flights were later resumed.

At the time Qadir said the local aviation industry "is full of negative people. We are not going anywhere. We put personal money in this company. We did not get government loans. We will put every penny of ours into this business".

Fin24 has reported in the past on the fierce competition - including reduced airfares - in the South African low cost airline sector, with some CEOs saying it will last until some players exit the market.

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