People generally have this stereotype about traveling by air, especially on how expensive they think it is compared to road trips. Well, it is true that traveling by air is more expensive than going by road and usually, only the high class and some middle-class individuals can afford it. But FlySafair, a South African airline that prides itself as a ‘low-cost carrier’, stepped in to make – and is making – the difference.
As a low-cost carrier, FlySafair is relatively less expensive and you do not have to pay as much as you would have to fork out when flying with other airlines that are not low-cost carriers. Despite being less expensive, they have still been able to offer quality service to customers, maintain the airline, while also using sound fleets.
FlySafair Was Founded In August 2013 But Started Operations In October 2014
FlySafair is a subsidiary of Safair Group. Safair was founded in 1965 and since then, it has grown to become one of Africa’s largest aviation service operators. In 2013, the company decided to launch FlySafair, a low-cost airline in Johannesburg, South Africa. Following their decision, they put necessary requirements in place and applied for approval to officially launch later that year. The South Africa Air Service Licensing Council (ASLC) granted FlySafair the approval to begin operations with just 10 daily flights between Cape Town International Airport and OR Tambo International Airport.
The idea of having a new competitor like FlySafair whose value proposition was ‘cheap and quality flight service’ did not go down so well with other rival airlines, and they did not stay silent about it. They sent an application to the court, requesting that FlySafair should not launch because it does not meet the legal requirement of 75% local ownership.
Few weeks before the official launch and inaugural flight of FlySafair in October 2013, they received a court order on the 8th of October to be precise, preventing them from launching operations as planned.
Safair went back to the drawing board and worked on their ownership structure to meet all necessary legal requirements and finally, on the 16th of October 2014, they launched operations. Since its inception, the airline has remained a strong competition for rivals and has seen serious expansion and growth over the years.
Who Owns FlySafair And Who Is The CEO?
FlySafair is owned by Safair Group, a South African Holding and the current CEO is Elmar Conradie. He has been the CEO of the group since 2015. The shares in the company are divided along the following lines:
- Safair Holdings | 25%
- Ndizasafair Holdings (employee ownership scheme) | 25.14%
- Safair Investment Trust (Board of Directors) | 49.86%
Safair receives major financial advice from its primary financial advisor, ASL Aviation. ASL Aviation is a minority shareholder at Safair Holdings. It is an international aviation company that operates in Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, France, Thailand, India, France, and Belgium, with over 100 operational aircraft and yearly revenue of over $50 million. So, when you see the fast pace at which FlySafair is growing, don’t be surprised because they take financial advice from one of the best in the industry.
In May 2017, FlySafair announced its partnership with the South African Rugby Union to become the official carrier of the Springboks, the South African Rugby team. The airline is also an employer of about 1000 employees.
FlySafair Is A Low-cost Carrier Airline
What is referred to as starting small differs, depending on the kind of business in context, and for FlySafair, as much as it must have cost them a fortune to get approval to operate, the two aircraft they started with and all other necessary fees, it was a small start. However, they have expanded as a company with 17 aircraft, having carried over 3 million passengers.
Over the years, FlySafair has stayed true to their status of being a low-cost carrier and have succeeded in lowering their ticket price to some routes by up to 39% discount. To completely eliminate that stereotype that what is cheap is of less quality, FlySafair has also made quality service a priority.
The airline tries to ensure that all flights take off within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure time. Despite all the start-up challenges the company faced, FlySafair has managed to become one of the largest domestic route network airlines in South Africa among other low-cost carriers.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind Of Aircraft Does FlyStair Use?
FlySafair fleet consists of Boeing airplanes and currently, they operate 17 of them. Six are Boeing 737-400 that has a passenger capacity of 165 while the remaining 11 are Boeing 737-800 with a passenger capacity of 189.
What Destinations Does FlySafair Fly To?
FlySafair operates across 8 different airports in South Africa, which makes them one of the largest domestic route networks of all South African low-cost carriers. They also have an international route as well. Here is a detailed list of all domestic routes of FlySafair Airline:
- Lanseria International Airport – Johannesburg
- OR Tambo International Airport – Johannesburg
- Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport – Gqeberha
- East London Airport – East London
- King Shaka International Airport – Durban
- George Airport – George
- Cape Town International Airport – Cape Town
- Bram Fischer International Airport – Bloemfontein
The only international airport they work with for now is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Mauritius.
Which Airlines Does FlySafair Have Interline Agreement With?
Interlining is an arrangement between airlines to make traveling on itineraries that require multiple flights easier for passengers. It allows passengers to change from one flight or one airline to another flight or another airline without having to check in to the new airline. FlySafair interlines with the following airlines:
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Kenya Airways
- Proflight Zambia
- Air France
- Qatar Airways
Does FlySafair Provide In-flight Services?
Yes, FlySafair Airline provides in-flight services like food and drink, but as a result of the short distance of their flights, they do not serve hot food, rather customers can enjoy small chops, sandwiches, and drinks.
In adherence to COVID-19 precautions, in-flight services have currently been suspended following government COVID-19 level 4 prevention measures. Also, any form of leisure traveling in and out of Gauteng has been suspended.
How Do I Get A Flight Ticket From FlySafair?
There are so many means of getting a FlySafair ticket. One of the easiest methods is by booking through the FlySafair official website. You can also book a flight through online agencies like Flightsite, TravelFusion, and Travelstart.
Also, you can buy a ticket from Shoprite, Checkers, Pick ‘n’ Pay, and other integrated travel agencies like MyMarket. If you want to travel with your friends or family and you will be up to 10 persons or more, you can also make use of the FlySafair Group booking service on their website.