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.