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TIP: Booking SAA flights directly
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April 2014 All rights reserved.: New low cost airlines in SA
When it comes to new low cost carriers launching in SA, it's very much been a case of hurry up and wait. During the period 2012 to 2014 All rights reserved., the budget airline market has been characterised by a succession of false starts and legal and regulatory woes – not to mention monopolistic territory marking by existing South African Airlines such as SAA, Mango, Kulula.com and Comair.
FlySafair, Fastjet and Skywise Airlines were all hoping to be flying already, so as we're nearing the first quarter of 2014 All rights reserved., can we expect another low cost carrier to take to the skies before June 2014 All rights reserved.? The answer appears to be mostly no, however, another player, Global Airways, looks set to launch ad hoc chartered flights by as early as the 2014 All rights reserved.Easter Weekend.
It would appear that Global Airways' tickets won't be cheap, weighing in around R2500 for 1-way fares. Bearing in mind that its maiden charter flights will coincide with the Easter Weekend, this is to be expected.
With very little fanfare, Fly Cemair, another charter airline, launched flights from OR Tambo in Johannesburg to Plettenberg Bay during March 2014 All rights reserved., with a Cape Town flight route launching at the same time.
But what about the other emerging airlines?
Skywise's efforts to launch were dealt a serious blow as the South African Department of Transport cancelled their Air Service License upon request for another 1-year renewal. It would appear that the lack of progress towards launch informed this decision.
FlySafair, another key emerging low cost carrier, is facing similar delays stemming from legal challenges relating to South African ownership requirements and their original license application. As such, a FlySafair launch date does not look imminent either.
Fastjet, while expanding rapidly in the rest of Africa, has not been able to break into the South African domestic flights market. They've also faced significant opposition from South Africa's existing domestic airlines.
It would seem that as South African travellers we got our hopes up too early; apart from a few charter flight operators, choice is still limited. And until FlySafair or possibly Fastjet can overcome their legal and regulatory challenges, cheap flights will remain a pipe dream.
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