Taxi-run airline bid runs into snags

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An ambitious low-cost airline plan by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has been dealt a blow after it failed to secure a legally binding agreement with a Cape Town company.

In addition, the council has yet to reach an agreement with Lanseria Airport on its use.

This was despite the fact that the airport was used for its maiden flight during a high-profile launch last year attended by President Jacob Zuma.

This week, the airport’s manager, Gavin Sayce, said it had had no discussions with Santaco on plans to accommodate its flights.

“The flight that they used during the launch that flew out of here was a chartered plane and since then we have had no dealings with them.

“We tried to speak to their CEO at the time after we saw media reports on their plans to use the airport, but I have had no response,” said Sayce.

Santaco has on several occasions postponed the date of its flights’ launch despite promises since last year to operate routes between Joburg and Bisho in the Eastern Cape and later to Cape Town.

It can now be revealed that the taxi body, which has given various reasons for the delay to take to the sky, has failed to secure an agreement with Standby Travel – a company which Santaco had planned to have taken control of for operational purposes.

Yesterday, Santaco’s Western Cape chairman, Vernon Billet, confirmed that there was no legally binding agreement between the taxi council and the company.

“Our plans are still on track, but we have to recalculate because of the (economic) downturn that saw rising fuel prices and airport taxes.”

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