IN STEP: Mango staff gear up for a busy holiday time.

Cape Town - The year-end holiday season is the busiest time for any airline and this year’s will be no different. Low-cost airline Mango expects to carry just under half a million passengers during the season to its eight network points, with a fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Mango flies between Joburg and Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Joburg and Cape Town, Lanseria and Cape Town, Durban and Cape Town, Joburg and Durban, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, Joburg and George, and Joburg and Zanzibar.

Flights are booked primarily online through Mango’s website or through its mobile app for Blackberry 10, Android and Apple devices. Since its launch earlier this year, the app has been downloaded 60 000 times, leading to more than 250 000 bookings. More than 40 000 check-ins occurred on the mobile app this year.

Zanzibar, the airline’s first African destination, will see about 5 000 guests visit the island paradise. Mango’s regular twice-weekly frequency is upped to four during peak periods. South Africans now account for just more than 10 percent of tourists to the island.

The top three busiest domestic routes are, in order of volume: Joburg or Lanseria to Cape Town, Joburg to Durban, and Joburg to Port Elizabeth. The last of these routes is enjoying growing popularity and more flights were added in October.

South Africans love travelling with their pets and, during the holiday season, the airline expects to carry between 10 and 20 pets a day. The most popular routes for animal travel are Joburg to Cape Town and Joburg to George.

Most of the animal passengers are dogs, followed by cats. There have even been some unusual passengers, such as turtles, parrots, rabbits, reptiles and fish.

Mango has continued to be the most consistently on-time domestic airline on average for the past eight years.

This season, it will require 168 000 man hours among 700 Mango staff to dispatch and receive 2 358 flights – and this does not include the thousands of other role-players outside the airline who make aviation operations possible.

During the holiday period, the Mango fleet’s flight hours will exceed 4 500, with each of Mango’s 103 pilots taking off and landing about 48 times. It is expected the airline will carry about 3 million kilograms of luggage and about 10 000 bags a day.

Routes whose travellers pack the most are Joburg to Cape Town, Joburg to Port Elizabeth. Flights from Durban to Joburg carry more luggage than those from Joburg to Durban.

During the season, Mango aircraft will fly on average 57 000km a day and are expected, by mid-January, to have logged up 2.4 million kilometres among them from December 1.

On board the flights, each cabin crew member would have served about 2 200 passengers with 39 000 warm beverages and more than 18 000 litres of non-alcoholic drinks. By the end of the holiday season, more than 26 000 rolls and muffins and 5 000 litres of wine, beer and cider would have been sold. About 50 000 on-board G-Connect In-Flight wi-fi sessions would have been recorded.

Weekend Argus