Johannesburg, 21 June 2022 – Low-cost carrier FlySafair today revealed plans for expansion which include the addition of several new aircraft to its fleet along with hopes to operate more regional routes.
Comair’s recent departure from the market took with it approximately 40% of the domestic seat capacity and erases a fair amount of seat availability on various regional routes. This departure has created a supply vacuum in some areas opening opportunities for other carriers.
“The market has lost about 9 000 seats a week,” says Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair. “The addition of about eight narrow-body aircraft back into the market will help to plug this gap.”
FlySafair intends to add four aircraft to its fleet before the end of the year, with a fifth lined up for early 2023. The first of these will join the operating fleet next week on 1 July with the next three scheduled to come in mid-September, early October and early to mid-November respectively.
“The schedule for the aircraft coming next week has already been loaded and it’ll be deployed onto the domestic network, but we’re waiting on the results of our regional route applications to decide how to utilise the next three aircraft.”
As per last Friday’s Government Gazette, FlySafair has made application to the Air Services Licensing Council for rights to operate several regional routes including connections to Zanzibar, Maputo, Lusaka, Livingstone, Gaborone, Victoria Falls, Bulawayo, Nairobi, Luanda, and the Seychelles. The carrier has also applied for additional weekly frequencies to Mauritius, a route it already operates twice a week.
“We’ve also made application to be appointed as a designated carrier for operation into Namibia so that we might be able to connect to Windhoek.”
South Africa’s aviation industry had recovered to about 60% to 70% of 2019 supply levels before the recent supply shock which saw supply plummet to about 45% of what it had been before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This shock will be corrected quickly,” says Gordon. Over the last two and a half years, FlySafair has been strategic with its growth plans. The airline’s initial conservative approach during the first hard lockdown meant it could avoid retrenchments. Today much of this experience and knowledge has been retained and has positioned the airline to grow with the addition of more aircraft, routes, and talent. As it stands, the airline has operated 41% more flights this month than it did in June 2019.