Sunday, February 3, 2013

■ SOUTH AFRICA: Skywise confirms launch delayed past 1 March as Comair memo on fastjet surfaces.

Corroborating our previous report, South African startup carrier Skywise, whose founders include ex-1Time honchos Rodney James and Glenn Orsmond, ex-1Time Chief Information Officer, Michael Kaminski, and Johan Borstlap, a former director at defunct domestic carrier Sun Air, have confirmed that they will not meet their target launch date of 1 March following the failure of their application for a domestic licence to the Air Services Licensing Council (ASLC) on 16 January.

According to TourismUpdate, the airline did not receive its Air Service Licence last month "owing to the additional information required from the applicant (Skywise) to make a decision.”  The South African Department of Transport confirmed that once Skywise has submitted the additional documents, the Council will make a decision, and that it would not have to wait until the next ASLC meeting later this month.

Regarding its launch date, originally set for March , Rodney James, Skywise's co-founder, stated:
Rodney James
Rodney James (algoa)
The beginning of March was our target date with the assumption of being issued an ASL at the beginning of the year. As soon as the ASL is hanging on our wall we will set another target launch date,” says Rodney James.
Source [TourismUpdate]

Skywise's application for service has been far less drama filled than that of Fastjet (FN) whose pending take over of 1Time (T6)'s AOC has been the subject of an uproar from South African Airways (SA), Mango(JE) and Comair Ltd.

Of particular interest is that Comair, in a memo, states that fastjet's choice to continue operating 1Time's ageing McDonnell Douglas MD82 fleet on an interim basis whilst Airbus A319s join its fleet, would subsequently be "crippling".
All indications are that [fastjet] would be a weak airline and once again cause overcapacity, and ultimately result in negative publicity, further bad debts and disrepute for the industry," states a memo prepared by Comair. 

The memo goes on to add that "fastjet intends to continue operating the highly inefficient 1time aircraft, and on this basis we can see no way that it will be able to operate 1time any more efficiently than what was done in the past, when 1time incurred significant losses and debts. Even if fastjet intends to eventually replace the old 1time aircraft, the losses incurred by operating these aircraft for a few months will be crippling. The fuel burn per seat of an MD82 is 53% more than competitor aircraft in the market and 1time’s CEO (Blacky Komani) specifically mentioned this as crippling to its profitability.
Source [TourismUpdate]

Comair is not registered as having lodged a complaint against Skywise's application, whose fleet is set to consist of Boeing 737-300s.