A new “scramble for Africa” is taking place between airlines attracted by the increasing prosperity of a growing number of countries, together with a lack of infrastructure that makes surface travel difficult.
SAA, its low-cost division Mango and British Airways franchise holder Comair are among those who have realised the continent’s possibilities. So has London-listed budget airline Fastjet, which is building a pan-African carrier and lists Johannesburg as one of its intended destinations.
It is negotiating with the creditors of 1time, which had 15 percent of the South African domestic market when it went into provisional liquidation last month. It intends to re-start the airline as part of its rapidly growing network.
But Fastjet’s plans are being opposed by SAA, Mango and Comair, which see it as a threat to their share of the local and regional market.
They have submitted objections to Fastjet’s plan to become the controlling shareholder of the revived 1time with a 25 percent stake, on the grounds that legislation does not allow a foreign owner to have such a large share of a local airline.