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Skywise, the new low-cost carrier expected to launch in South Africa next year, will silence critics in the aviation industry who say there isn’t a need for a new carrier on the domestic market, say its founders, Rodney James and Glenn Orsmond (ex-1time CEOS), Michael Kaminski (ex-1time CIO) and Johan Borstlap (ex-Sun Air MD).
James told Tourism Update, the plans to start a new low-cost airline started around six months ago and, since then, the highly experienced team had developed an “exciting business plan”. While the founders are still in the process of applying for an air service licence, the plan is to launch SkyWise in the first quarter of next year.
Using two Boeing 737-300s, the airline will offer flights between OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport. James says the carrier will expand into the domestic network as it “takes market share and grows the market by offering an efficient alternative for safe, reliable and low fare air travel”.
While many in the industry have stated that the high fuel costs and airport taxes provide an unfavourable environment for airlines, particularly new entrants into the market, James says the same was said before 1time launched nine years ago, and after launching it was able to grow the market.
He adds: “We believe the B737-300 is the wise choice for the South African low yielding market, with an affordable capital cost and very good fuel efficiency.” He says operating fuel-efficient aircraft, less expensive than those of competitors, will keep yields down.
According to James, SkyWise will lease purchase the two aircraft. He would not reveal where the aircraft would be sourced from, only that two options were currently available to them.
Unlike 1time, which was self-funded, SkyWise has external investors. James explains that the airline will start off with a BEE component as well as investment from a Dubai-based aviation company looking to expand into Africa.
“The LCC model works and is the only model on a growth path, worldwide. Keeping fares as low as possible is what grows markets, builds economies and creates jobs. The legacy model is a dying beast. We can’t wait to create jobs and grow the air travel market,” adds James.