Low-COST airline 1Time which, like competitor Comair, was hit hard by falling demand and rising costs last year, has been doing well in the current year as passenger numbers rose with a recovery in both domestic and incoming tourism. A move by some business travellers to switch from full service airlines to cheaper economy flights also contributed.
It has also been negotiating to cut costs and achieve greater stability by switching the lease payments for its fleet of McDonnell Douglas aircraft to rand from dollars.
It is in discussions with financial institutions aimed at recapitalisation to replace its fleet with fuel-saving new generation aircraft, in line with most of the world’s domestic and international airlines as fuel costs continue to rise.
It is continuing with plans to expand its route network into other parts of Africa. Chief executive Blacky Komani said it was considering three new destinations and expected to launch the first of its new services by June. 1Time was preparing to overcome protectionism that had been preventing cross-border services in Africa by forming partnerships with indigenous airlines in the three countries.
1Time already flies to Zambia, in addition to Zanzibar and Mombasa in Kenya, where it offers package holidays bookable on its website. Komani said Zimbabwe was one of the new destinations under consideration. It is also in discussions with Mozambican authorities over the possibility of resuming a service to Maputo.
1time Holdings, the parent company of 1time Airline and its maintenance arm, Jetworx, reported a R135.6 million headline loss for the year to December 31, compared with the previous year’s profit of R46.3m. Headline earnings a share reflected a loss of 50.52c, and earnings a share a loss of 58.56c, compared with profits of 22.07c and 0.55c respectively in 2010. Jetworx reported a loss of R47.5m compared with one of R43.8m reported in 2010. 1time Airline reported a loss of R95.3m, compared with a profit of R44.2m in 2010.
The main reasons for the low-cost airlines poor results were high fuel prices and airport taxes.
Shares closed 10 percent lower at 18c on Thursday.