6 October 2020, Johannesburg – The newest addition to FlySafair’s fleet, a Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation aircraft, touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday last week. A second aircraft is due later this month. FlySafair has been slowly increasing capacity since restarting operations in June this year, and these new arrivals will allow for further expansion helping to increase capacity as demand for local travel grows.
Last week the International Air Transport Association (IATA), published new statistics that indicated that 4.5 million African jobs will be lost in aviation and aviation-related industries thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. This accounts for well over half of the 7.7 million jobs in the sector. South Africa will certainly be no exception to this, as the fate of most local airlines remains hanging in the balance.
“Now’s a great time to look to expand your fleet, if you’re in a position to do so, because with the industry being where it is, there are plenty of aircraft up for grabs at very reasonable prices” says Kirby Gordon, CMO of FlySafair.
FlySafair’s careful resource planning has allowed it to recommence operations, while also ensuring the safety of its employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This circumspect approach has always stood it in good stead as a bullish competitor in the local market. The Center for Aviation (CAPA) reports that capacity in South Africa is down about 70% from this time last year and that upwards of 74% of the seats available on the local market are being operated by FlySafair.
“It was important to us that we get our operations going as soon as it was feasible to do so, especially as it was clear that there was not going to be any state support for our sector. We’re also in the fortunate position where we perform all our own maintenance, so there’s been no reliance on possibly unstable third parties in that regard”.
FlySafair’s new aircraft, already painted in the company colours, will begin operations as soon as registration requirements are processed by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
“This new addition will help to increase capacity and hopefully push fares down a bit”, says Gordon who added, “we’ve been holding the mantle for a while now and it’s important that we get more capacity into the market through our own expansion, and through the return of competitors. Our economy needs lots of affordable air access as a catalyst for recovery”.
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