Friday, November 2, 2012

■ SOUTH AFRICA: Knives out for SAA as 1Time goes under.

Embattled South African LCC, 1Time (T6), has filed for liquidation and has subsequently ceased operations as of 3pm this afternoon, 2 November 2012.

In a statement on its Facebook account, the carrier's CEO, Blacky Komani, said:
Blackie Komani
Blackie Komani
Our business rescue practitioner has advised that there are no reasonable prospects of survival as a potential financier notified us this afternoon that they are no longer able to invest in our airline. It is therefore with the utmost regret, disappointment and heartfelt disbelief that we have to file for liquidation, which means the end of a dream and an era for all of us,” said Blacky Komani, CEO of 1time Airline.
Source [1Time]

The carrier had been in Business Rescue since August. 

1Time Holdings' share price went into free-fall this afternoon, dropping 70% to trade at ZAR0.03. At 17h18L Sens issued a statement stating "trading has been halted on the 1time share and the company will make application for suspension thereof".

Also in jeopardy are plans for Zimbabwean LCC, Fresh Air, FreshAir, the 51/49 joint venture between Nu.Com (Pvt) Ltd of Zimbabwe and 1Time Holdings Ltd of South Africa, who ironically, were due to have started flights between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg (ORTIA) this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Comair Ltd's CEO, Erik Venter, in a statement has commiserated with 1Time, adding that if it were not for loss-making, state-subsidized airlines like South African Airways (SA), SA Express and Mango, 1Time would have been a viable airline:
Erik Venter
Erik Venter
"Due to the less efficient fleet it operated, the ultimate closure of 1Time was inevitable. However, we are certain that in the absence of state-subsidised Mango, 1Time would have made adequate profits to upgrade its fleet and be sustainable over the long term. Based on the previously released financial statements of SAA, and recent parliamentary comments, Mango made a loss of half a billion rand since its 2006 launch, due to undercutting the viability of the private low cost carriers.
He added that this again brings to question the role of Mango in the South African market, its failure to disclose its financial statements - as required of all State Owned Enterprises by the Public Finances Management Act - and government’s breach of its own Aviation Transport Policy, in which it committed to a level playing field in the domestic aviation sector.

Since the deregulation of the South African aviation industry in 1991, ten out of 11 private airlines launched in South Africa have failed, with VelvetSky and 1Time being this year's casualties.