CemAir will retain the routes and increased frequencies that it implemented when SA Express (SAX) was grounded, regardless of SAX’s planned return, says Miles van der Molen, CEO of CemAir.

On May 24, when SAX was grounded by the South African Civil Aviation Authority for “serious non-compliance”, CemAir announced an increase in capacity between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and began operating a direct service between Cape Town and Hoedspruit (which was previously serviced via Johannesburg). A few days later, the airline launched flights between Johannesburg and Kimberley, and on May 29 between Johannesburg and Richards Bay.

Van der Molen told Tourism Update that the airline would also still pursue the possibility of launching a Cape Town-East London service. “I don’t believe that SA Express has truly addressed its structural challenges, which involve solvency and cash issues. As a result, I am sure it will need to rationalise its routes to remain viable. The unstable market conditions will make it possible for other airlines to absorb market share.”