FlySafair wants SA government to 'subsidise aviation industry' during level 3
FlySafair is unlikely to fly during level 3 unless the government offers support.
The airline will continue with the temporary suspension of its business operations under level 3 of the government’s Risk-Adjusted Strategy to lift the lockdown.
It revealed that despite the president's announcement that air travel for business reasons will be allowed under level 3 lockdown, FlySafair will remain cautious in its moves to return to the skies.
Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair, said the airline needed to understand what restrictions would be applied.
"As it stands, flights will not be allowed to commence on June 1, 2020, but will be phased in later, with dates to be announced. FlySafair anticipates additional limitations and regulations to be imposed for airlines to become compliant under level 3. The airline eagerly awaits the promulgation of this information from the Department of Transport so that it can plan accordingly.
“We find ourselves in a precarious position. We would, of course, like to start flying as soon as possible, but the commencement of unprofitable operations, thanks to a severely constrained demand, would put us in a worse position than what we might be by simply remaining hunkered down unless the state chooses to subsidise the aviation industry to kickstart business in South Africa,” he said.
He said the possibility of schedule restrictions, unpredictable changes in regional lockdown levels and the inclusion of additional measures could hurt the business if it resumed operations too quickly.
"FlySafair is also acutely aware that there will be a decline in demand for business travel with employees being encouraged to work from home and many companies have implemented restrictions on face-to-face meetings.
“We can’t commence operations until it’s viable to do so unless the government intervenes to support air access. This could be achieved in a number of ways, like for example by waiving the fees levied by SOCs like Airports Company SA, Air Traffic and Navigation Services, SA Civil Aviation Authority and SA Weather Service," he said.
Gordon believes that if conditions become more favourable, FlySafair was poised to mobilise for operations at any stage. “Pushing inventory live for sale can be achieved in hours and having aircraft ready for operation can be done in a day. So from a point of decision to begin operations, the wheels will turn very quickly,” he added.