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FlySafair launches with high hopes

By Staff Writer
FlySafair is set to launch next week with cheaper domestic flights along popular fight routes, with the first flight flying from Cape Town to Johannesburg. The airline has been getting bookings for seats since the end of July, and has steadily seen a week-on-week growth.
 
“The sale activity has been very good. We have been selling tickets since the end of July and has been growing week by week,” said Dave Andrew, CEO of FlySafair.
 
However, this launch comes in the face of 1Time, Velvet and other such low-cost airlines which went bust. Andrew believes that FlySafair differs from these airlines in their pricing models: “Well, firstly the price we can offer is different from others in the market, and also we unbundle our costs,” said Andrew.
 
Furthermore, FlySafair has a small fleet with only two 737-400 planes which have a seating capacity of 165 passengers. “So we will start with four flights a day, each way, from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and then we add two flights a day to Port Elizabeth and then one flight a day to George,” said Andrew.
 
Andrew explained that the low costs were achieved by passengers only paying for exactly what they need: “We have unbundled our fairs, so if you are on a day trip and you are not taking bags with you then you don’t pay for a bag. If you want to take a bag with then you pay for it. Similarly, we have an option if you want to pre-allocate seats, you can do that for a fee. There is also an option that if you want extra leg room then you can book that, and pay for it. So we are trying to break down, or unbundle our fairs to give our customers the best choice we possibly can,” said Andrew.
 
Although FlySafair is a brand new low-cost passenger it stems from Safair, a South African air logistics and specialised air service company, with 49 years of experience.
 
Low cost model
 
“The earlier you book the cheaper you get the tickets,” said Andrew. Many of the tickets have been pre-booked since July this year, only helping to highlight the popularity of the airline.
 
Andrew explained that the low cost model tries to reward clients by giving them the best prices for booking their tickets in advance.
 
“Well basically what we do, the low cost model tries to incentivise the people who book the furthest in advance. So, in other words, to get the lowest price you need to book far in advance. As you then get closer to the day of departure, the law of supply and demand kicks in and the prices will increase. But hopefully then, there will be enough of the low price fairs to simulate the market we are trying to get to,” said Andrew.
 
New routes
 
There will only be three routes to start with: Cape Town to Johannesburg, Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and Cape Town to George.
 
“We will have a phase approach, we will be starting first on the Cape Town to Johannesburg route and then two weeks later the Cape Town to Port Elizabeth route, and then two weeks following that the Cape Town to George route,” said Andrew.
 
However, Andrew said that new routes would be added next year. “We will probably [add new routes] but in the new year sometime. We first need to let this operation settle down and sort itself out before we go and add additional routes,” said Andrew.
 
FlySaifair officially launches next week Thursday, 16 October, and there are still seats available for the flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Though only time will tell if the new low cost airline will stay afloat or meet the same fate as many who have come before it. 

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