Monday, April 12, 2021

New SA airline Lift takes off, providing jobs during pandemic


A new domestic South African airline has joined Mango, and FlySafair. Lift was launched earlier this week and will be operating on low costs and oil prices. Part-founded by former Uber Africa executive Jonathan Ayache and Gidon Novick said the airline planned to avoid a cash-heavy operational model that hit its rivals.

“We’re fortunate, operating costs are as low as they’ve ever been. Obviously, that’s subject to the exchange rate. Oil prices are pretty low. Aircraft values have almost halved, and people costs are also low, so we see a real opportunity,” said Novick.

Many airlines have struggled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, related lockdowns and restrictions on travel. According to The International Air Transport Association, passenger demand continued to disappoint. African airlines’ traffic sank 78.6% in October from an 84.9% drop in September.

None the less, lift is betting on a return of tourists and business travellers, lower entry costs and employing those who are currently unemployed. The airline will fly 4th generation Airbus A320 aircraft leased from Global Aviation Operations and all of the seats will be economy. Lift will operate between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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