1time clients left fuming by last-minute closure

Cape Town - A final passenger update posted on the liquidated 1time's Facebook page stated that the airline was doing its best to accommodate passengers, stranded in Zanzibar and Zimbabwe, meant to have flown home on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The airline stated that it was likely these passengers would receive a cash reimbursement upon arrival in South Africa.

Passengers who had purchased tickets via credit card where being advised to seek recourse on a "service not delivered" basis, which allows passengers who purchased 1time tickets using their credit cards to apply for their money back from their respective banks through a "charge back", with the airline listing contact details for all of South Africa's major banks.

In a final apology to passengers the airline said that management and staff had done everything in their power to keep the airline operational.

"Throughout our journey of Business Rescue we have been nothing but honest and transparant in all our dealings with you and therefore it is with regret that this is my final communique to you. In spite of malicious rumours, I wish to reassure them that 1time did not know until 3pm yesterday (Friday) afternoon that the Business Rescue practitioners would shut operations with immediate effect.

"Despite the best efforts of my management team, our nationwide employees, and myself, we were unfortunately unable to win this battle. I again wish to thank passengers for their loyalty and commitment to 1time, your unrelenting support is testimony that South Africa has lost a formidable player in the aviation industry," concludes Blacky Komani, CEO of 1time Airline.

Contact details for the various banks:
ABSA: 0861 462 273 or email disputes@absa.co.za

First National Bank: 087 575 1111

Nedbank: 0860 555 111

Standard Bank: disputes@standardbank.co.za

Following are comments left by 1time passengers on its Facebook page...

Kerry-lee Rouse
Its an absolute disgrace that u took money from passengers knowing this would happen. I'm appalled! I just hope that my daughters father can get his money back because if not, she will not be able to see him for Christmas! Disgusted!

Louwrie Coetzer
This is such sad news.... my heart goes out to you 1Time.... You will stay a LEGEND in South African Aviation for all time!!!

Rob Hogan i have only the fondest memories of each and every single trip I took on your airline. i have a physical challenge and always needed the extra legroom of the emergency rows..not ONCE did I ever have a problem with my request from your airline...this in comparison to the other awful domestic carriers, esp SAA, who could not care leas. your flights were always on time, spotlessly clean, happy and gracious staff and my luggage arrived always in perfect condition. your ticketing process was also a breeze. may i also commend you on the excellently professional, genuine and heartfelt way you have dealt with this terrible blow..I send you and all your team and crews a huge hug and many thanks from a grateful client. bless. (www.facebook.com/jamescapetown)
1time Airline Dear all...thank you for the support. I bore witness to the daily trials...and we fought like hell to save our jobs, our Airline because it was more than work for us all here at 1time, but sheer JOY to wake up and work together daily and be of service to all of you. It has been phenomenal, it has been hard...its sooooo emotional. Our hearts are broken. We thought this underdog would make this...thank you for allowing us so many years of service. Good bye South Africa.

Kerry-lee Rouse Oh my word! REALLY??? I do not have any fond memories! Engine failure and stolen items! PLEASE! Dishonest is what this all was. Why on earth take money on the day u announce liquidation! Good grief! How does one even come up with an excuse for that?
Ben LiveLife Johnson Don't get irritated with 1Time.... they applied for business rescue and made this very public. If you still decided to purchase tickets during this period, it was at your own risk.

Neil Baines Having been through 3 other airline failures, FULL MARKS to 1time for communication. All other airlines just shut off communication and went quiet once the liquidation order was issued. Do you realize that whoever is manning this Facebook pages is without a job, is not getting paid, but is doing it out of a genuine concern for their customers??? To those of you who paid by credit card, see above, to those of you who paid a travel agent cash or 1Time by EFT, realize that you are probably never going to see that money again, forget about it and move on. If you do get something back, bonus. That is simply how it works in a liquidation. As they sad below, they were only told at 3pm themselves officially, until then, it was business as usual and hope!

Joppie Saa Nieman I do not believe that anyone can accuse 1Time of DELIBERATELY taking passengers money, KNOWING that they will be closing their doors. They have been going through tough times for many many months now and it seemed inevitable that one day this day might arrive. It is just unfortunate that the time had to come shortly before the start of the festive season, but it was partly due to two announcements: A major potential investor withdrew, following the announcement by government that SAA will be the only airline that they will consider bailing out. We recently saw several governments bailing out e.g. the motor industry, banks, newspapers etc. but alas that was not to happen in SA.

Dieketseng-Keke Mosiki-Lee Still no word from 1time about our cash refunds......your message doesn't help me much. Where on earth will I get R16000 AGAIN to pay for flight. My heart goes out to those who lost their jobs but I still need to know the truth. Stop dodging the REAL question. Credit card users knew already that they could get refunded (thanx to the banks for letting the public know BEFORE YOU). We want to know about those who paid cash. Speak up!

Lisa Brierley Joppie thank u some1 understands maybe you need to help educate passengers! I myself was in a queue about to board a flight to Cape Town, if the staff knew what was going on do u think I would have been standing there with my suit case? And the airport staff's faces proved me had no idea!

Debbie Els My kids bought tickets last week to visit me over Christmas. Our first Christmas without a husband, father and grandfather. We cannot afford to pay for more tickets!!
Elmo Erasmus I can understand people's frustration when they arrive at the airport and they expect to be at their destination at a certain time, however, passengers knew exactly the term "business rescue" and what risk that carried. I am more upset the fact that the airline industry is left with less players to compete government giant and most of all I am upset that employees are left without jobs. I think that the whole situation by 1Time team is handled professionally and that care is taken where possible therefore all these accusations about "stealing" is unjustified and unfounded. I take my hat off for this team.
Bren Lizzy Too all the people complaining about them not paying you back if you didn't use a credit card and now you don't understand, chill!!! You know what, at least 1Time has the decency to try and communicate with the public!!!! If only you knew how hard everyone tried to keep 1Time running you wouldn't have reacted like this!!! Other airlines didn't even bother to explain or help at all so flippen think about the people who have got NO income whatsoever anymore!!!! They didn't just loose money for tickets purchased!!!!! They don't have a job! So be a little bit more considerate and wait to see if you do get money back if not, be grateful that you still have a job!!!!!!!!! We also lost money buying tickets on 1time but bad mouthing them is not going to bring it back!! They tried very hard to keep things going but could unfortunately not make it!! Some of those staff members are single parents and they have no income now! Think about that! 1Time was an amazing company to work for!!!

Mark Cuttler @ Kerry Lee Rouse : Kerry-Lee, I was a pilot at 1time. You need to know how the company was run during business rescue. The CEO, had the power to run the company operationally from day to day and that is all. He had no power over the business rescue practitioner. So he made sure the airline ran safely and efficiently from day to day. There were communications from ACSA that they were on board with the process two days before the plug was pulled. Then, on Friday, for whatever reason, the business practitioner arrived, came upstairs, told the CEO he was shutting us down and rushed back out of the office and put that in place. As 1time is a listed company on the JSE, he should have gone to them and asked them to put out a SENS announcement that 1time was going to cease trading, he didn't. He didn't follow the protocols he said he would, and I'm sure there are legal ramifications there, this was a legal process, after all. So, understand, Kerry, 1time was under Business Rescue. All the staff just carried on doing their jobs, whatever they were. The ticket sales staff had NO IDEA, the Business Rescue Practitioner would rush upstairs and do what he did - nobody on the operational side of the airline did. In short, the Business Rescue Practitioner shut down 1time, 1time did NOT shut itself down. If you want to HATE the people who did this to you, hate the Business Rescue Practitioner, he's the one who pulled the plug as was his right, ethically or non ethically. Do you really think the lowly ticket sales staff's sole concern was to irritate you?

Frank T Ndlovu Thats really sad for everyone,we had booked flights for December a day after our wedding..its sad and hope something will be done..M so sorry for those who lost their Jobs worst of all at this time of the year..Its really painful

Mampe Tema so are we not gonna get our money back? some of us used our last money to fly back home from school... how am i spose to go back home :'(

Ernie van Dyk
Its indeed funny that business rescue practitioners, who knew they were shutting you down,kept quiet,leaving customers to buy tickets up to last minute

Lily Flattery My granddaughter bought me a ticket in September for my 80th birthday present. Now I cannot go to visit my family in Port Elizabeth.

Comments left by News24 readers

BrainCandyCPT - November 2, 2012 at 22:19 - They knew, before today, that they would be ceasing to operate, surely? Could they not have given people at least a few days' notice? I wonder when they stopped taking bookings. Disgusting to leave people stranded like that. Skaam is weg!

Savourcard - November 2, 2012 at 22:33- How is it possible that payments were being accepted on the same day all operations ceased? Are we to seriously believe that the action to stop operations was taken suddenly on the spur of the moment? As far as I am concerned, this is a prima facie case of criminal fraud -- taking money for a service or product that is knowingly not going to be provided.

bertus.pretorius.1 - November 3, 2012 at 02:13 - I've been in the same position when Velvet went down and being stuck in CPT. Lost 3days' worth of accomodation because we had to scramble for tickets being sold out for other airlines. Mango and Kulula are smiling again at this turn of events. Good luck to all the staff and air crew now out of a job.

Joe - November 3, 2012 at 07:13 they were always a useless airline

givenvon.baloyi - November 3, 2012 at 07:41 It's inevitable, nobody fly the guzzling MDs anymore. 1time should have considered updating their fleet some few years back when they were still showing profit (2004/5) instead of profit share schemes and advertising. Comair foresee this and at least tried to update their aircraft by buying B737-800 and got rid of the B737-200

Theesan - November 3, 2012 at 08:17
Let us remember OneTime, the way it act it actually operated. You know you are a OneTime flight when:
Before you take off, the stewardess tells you to fasten your velcro.  The pilot asks all the passengers to chip in a little for fuel. When they pull the steps away, the plane starts rocking. The pilot shouts at the farmers to get the cows off the runway.  The 'in flight' safety check takes twice as long as normal. The stewardesses wear name tags as well as ‘trainee badges’. The stewardesses expect to be tipped.
The local undertakers advertise on the back of the headrest. No film. Don't need one. Your life keeps flashing before your eyes. You see a man with a gun, but he's demanding to be let off the plane.
All the planes have both a bathroom and a chapel. Sick bags, safety cards and will forms are all in the seat pouch.

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