South Africa’s brand-new airline, which is set to launch before the end of 2020, has been named Lift.
The new local airline opened its website for bookings on Tuesday (10 November) as it prepares to officially begin operations on 10 December.
IOL reported that the airline found its name thanks to an overwhelming response from the public to its naming competition.
The name was selected from over 25 000 creative suggestions from South Africans who participated for a chance to win a year’s worth of travel on the airline.
The airline is a partnership between established operator Global Aviation, Kulula founder Gidon Novick and former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache.
“It’s been a tough year for so many and the airline industry is in a mess. We want our new airline to be a collaboration with all South Africans and a statement of optimism. This naming process proved to us once again how very resilient, creative and inspiring South Africans are.
“We had so much fun going through the entries. Some were so thoughtful and inspiring like ‘Ubuntu Air’ and ‘FlyMzansi’. ’Djyrynie’ and ‘Planey McPlaneface’ were never going to fly while ‘Gravy Plane’ must have confused us with another airline!” Novick said.
He said the decision was made to choose a name that was relevant to the category, something that was unique, optimistic and of course easy to pronounce and remember.
He said eight South African submitted the same name suggestion – Lift. The Lift team had open conversations with all finalists, and everyone agreed to share the prize. Each will receive their portion of a year’s flights. Their names will also be inscribed on the body of the first plane that takes to the air.
South Africans who submitted the winning names are Reto Reolon, Marisa Melck, Arnoldus Greyling, Alaisha Maharaj, Dawn McCarthy, Ashley Ragunan, Hilary Atkinson and one anonymous South African.
Leading advertising agency, M&C Saatchi Abel, have come on board to assist with establishing and bringing the brand to life.
In the words of one winner, Reto Reolan – “Lift, to me, is a statement of opportunity, optimism & freedom: to revisit places known, explore places new, find business & reconnect with family.”
By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband
South Africans have been invited to come up with a name for South Africa’s newest airline, which is expected to start flying by the end of the year.
The airline, which is a partnership between Kulula founder Gidon Novick and Global Aviation, is inspired by innovative tech-driven companies such as Uber.
“Similar to the way Uber has transformed the point-to-point mobility, there is a huge opportunity for the airline industry to rethink its relationship with passengers and be more customer-obsessed,” said Novick.
“The pandemic has created a unique opportunity to start an airline that is not only dramatically more efficient but also inventive and creative by tapping into the unique talent that our country offers.”
South Africans can visit brandnewairline.co.za to submit their suggestions and vote on their preferred name for the airline.
The new airline is being launched despite other established airlines facing significant troubles – both SAA and Comair are currently in the midst of business rescue proceedings.
However, Novick sees an opportunity brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to re-look the traditional airline model – including a focus on technology.
“Technology has the ability to facilitate a seamless, efficient, and engaging relationship with our future customers,” said Novick.
Additionally, Novick noted that the pandemic has brought about the opportunity to acquire the important assets for an airline – including planes, facilities, and employees – at an affordable price.
By improving efficiency and cutting costs, Novick believes the airline can make major inroads into the airline industry.
Cost-cutting measures will include purchasing or leasing used aircraft to save money.
These aircraft will predominantly be narrow-body, single-aisle aircraft that seat about 180 people – such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
Additionally, Novick said that it is “absolutely key” that the airline stays away from debt, and has confirmed that it will be funded through private capital instead.
This is because his experience in the industry showed him just how much damage debt can cause.
This new airline will start off with flights between OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport, and envisions that its first flight will take place in December 2020.
While this is a strong route for business travel, Novick does not believe that business travel will continue to be as strong as it was before the lockdown.
Instead, the new airline’s focus is on leisure travel, and it will leverage South Africa’s potential as a tourist destination.
By Lameez Omarjee for Fin24
The Development Bank of Southern Africa has committed R3.5bn to SAA, business rescue practitioners have confirmed.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, business rescue practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana said stakeholders can continue flying SAA now that required funding has been secured.
“Stakeholders of the airline should now have comfort that the rescue process is on a significantly sounder footing, and that passengers and travel agencies and airline partners may continue to book air travel on SAA with confidence,” they said.
Earlier on Tuesday Bloomberg reported that government may have received funding from DBSA, which would be government guaranteed. Treasury, the DBSA and SAA would not comment at the time.
When SAA was placed into business rescue, by order of President Cyril Ramaphosa, in December 2019 – both government and creditors committed to jointly provide R4bn.
Local commercial banks had provided R2bn in post-commencement financing – in addition to existing exposures to SAA. However, by mid-January government still had not been able to keep its end of the bargain.
In recent weeks government has managed to obtain the balance required to meet short term liquidity requirements of the airline until the business rescue plan is published. Fin24 understands that the plan will be finalised in February.
“Discussions held with financial institutions have been fruitful with the Development Bank of Southern Africa offering to provide the next tranche of PCF, for a total amount of R3.5bn, with an immediate draw-down of R2bn.
“Furthermore, funding for the restructuring phase after the plan is adopted is being considered by potential funders,” said the business rescue practitioners.
The airline has been facing a liquidity crisis and earlier this month, had to cancel flights in order to save cash.
Following speculation that the airline was going to fold, the Department of Public Enterprises issued a statement on Sunday January 19, 2020 assuring the public of its commitment to saving the airline.
“We are determined to contribute to the Business Rescue process so that we could minimise job losses and give birth to a rejuvenated SAA that all South Africans could be proud of. Collective effort is needed to make SAA as a premier African airline and Star Alliance member,” the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said at the time.