Friday, November 9, 2012

■ ZIMBABWE: Unlucky FreshAir hoping to relaunch in December as 1Time officially heads for liquidation.

FreshAir logoNu-Aero, the 51% majority shareholders in Zimbabwean LCC, Fresh Air (Z7), have stated that flights between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg (ORTIA), South Africa "could" resume as early as next month, in time to capitalize on the Christmas period, if a suitable technical partner can be found.

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FreshAir had the misfortune of launching its maiden flights between the Zimbabwean resort town and the South African metropolis (102 passengers on the outbound flight and 126 on the inbound) on the exact day that its then 49% shareholder, 1Time Holdings, ceased operations.
"The liquidation has come as a shock. We got the news soon after landing at Victoria Falls Airport on Friday. We are now uncertain of the future, although we have the option of finding another partner," said Fresh Air's commercial director, Matipedza Karashe. "We [committed all our resources] and had received all the necessary regulatory approval for our flights, so this is really a setback," Karashe said.

"There is a contingency plan and I think by next month flights will have resumed. The company just cannot lose out on the Christmas period activity, because it is the industry's peak period, especially for the Victoria Falls route," Karashe said regarding the possible resumption of operations.
Source [Mail&Guardian]

Meanwhile, 1Time (T6) was on Wednesday granted provisional liquidation by the high court in Pretoria, South Africa.
"On Tuesday, 6 November 2012 Dr Gerhard Holtzhauzen, 1time’s Business Rescue practitioner filed an application for the termination of the Business Rescue proceedings, and for the airline to be placed under provisional liquidation.

The North Gauteng High Court subsequently issued a provisional liquidation order on Wednesday, 7 November 2012, and decreed that that the return date for the order would be 11 December 2012, at which time the court will rule on the final closure of the business.

On the same date, the Master of the High Court appointed Aviwe Ndyamara as the provisional liquidator. Ndyamara is currently investigating the affairs of the company and has commenced his statutory obligations as provisional liquidator.
Source [1Time]

The liquidation process effectively ends any potential hopes for the revival or bailing out of the bankrupt carrier, though news reports this afternoon suggest that several ex 1-Time employees - Rodney James, the previous CEO of 1Time and previous shareholders of 1Time Airlines Pty Ltd - have applied for a licence to start a low-cost airline though it is understood that the airline will not be flying under the "1Time" name.