Cape Town- Fly Modern Ark, a South African company that specialises in aircraft leasing and sales, announced that it will launch new flight services and routes in SA later this year.
Founder Theunis Crous told Traveller24 that the airline aims to provide its services “within the next 4 to 5 months”, particularly for the benefit of people living in the outskirts of the cities.
After 10 years in the aviation sector, the company plans on flying passengers to and from the lesser-known destinations in SA, as well as providing air services in rural areas.
Routes will be similar to those offered by currently operating local carriers says Crous, but the difference is that Fly Modern Ark will offer its services in some rural and quieter areas, at lower rate.
When asked why it took the company so long to come into effect, Crous told Traveller24 that they were involved in other operations such as supplying aircraft and didn’t run a scheduled airline business.
“We offered SA Express a merger deal to put in capital and training,” says Crous, who explains that such offers to work together were “blocked” by SA Express.
“We partnered with China, mainly because aircraft were bought from them, and we wanted to partner with SA Express,” he says, adding that China’s Joy Airline uses the same type of aircraft.
“We own the aircraft unlike some other airlines that lease aircraft,” he says.
Fly Modern Ark is still in the process of finalising the bookings services for passengers and will keep travellers posted once aircrafts arrive and flight tests are conducted.
“Average prices we will be much cheaper and all flights will not be from ACSA airports,” says Crous. He could not at this poin indicate specific costing.
Crouse told Traveller24 that the airline will fly to rural areas all across the country, as at the moment, 8 airports in these areas are not being serviced.
“With a little bit of upgrading these airports can be serviced,” he says, giving Queenstown as an example – one of the airports the airline intends adding to its routes.
“We can even land our planes on a gravel landing strip,” he adds.
So far there are 10 aircrafts being manufactured in China for the airlines new service – each plane can carry 56 passengers. The new aircraft will arrive in SA in 2 to 3 months, says Crouse.
Crous says that in 2 years, the company will get 10 more aircraft that will each seat 76 passengers.
In addition, he says that staff will be trained in China, and about 370 people will be employed as a result of new airline’s services.
Some of Fly Modern Ark’s local routes include East London, Queenstown, Newcastle and Skukuza, while regional routes will include Swaziland and Mozambique, among others. Crous says the airline also plans to have special flights to “Sun City on weekends”.
“We are not here to compete with prices - we want to cater a service for routes that are barely used at the moment,” he told Traveller24.
He says that the company will concentrate on regional type of aircrafts and services as “the market is flooded” with routes to the busier cities.
With a total of “R3.4 billion worth of assets” invested, Crous says the airline is “bringing new, young people to lead the team” while getting the “maintenance facility, and parts and training centres” in place.
What to read next on Traveller24: