A new South African domestic airline, founded by former Kulula executive Gidon Novick, is expected to take to the skies within the next few weeks.
Speaking to The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield, Novick said they have partnered with Global Aviation for this venture.
Global Aviation is an established airline operator which focuses on business-to-business flying in terms of servicing airlines around the world.
Through Global Aviation, the new airline automatically has the necessary regulatory approvals to take to the skies.
“All the backend stuff, including the aircraft, maintenance, and regulatory issues are in place through Global Aviation,” he said.
This frees up the new airline’s management to focus on systems, marketing, and making sure they attract people as clients.
New name to be announced soon
South Africans have recently been invited to come up with a name for the new airline, and Novick said there have been many good entries.
“We have had over 20,000 entries, which shows the incredible interest in the industry,” he said.
With crowdsourced naming, there is the risk of silly suggestions, like Boaty McBoatface, and this time around it was no different.
Novick said there were a few “really strange names” which came up, included the inevitable Planey McPlaneface.
There is, however, one name which Novick said they really like which will be unveiled within the next week.
Novick is upbeat about the airline industry
While airline travel has plummeted this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, Novick remains upbeat about the prospects for the new airline.
He said people are keen to connect with each other, which is resulting in a growing demand for air travel.
There is, however, a need to re-look at traditional business models and find ways to do things differently.
A key focus for Novick is on efficiency and cutting costs, which include leasing aircraft at dramatically reduced rates.
Another focus for Novick is flexibility. “With the market uncertainty, a flexible model which can adjust to market demand is critical,” he said.
He has hinted at an Uber-like experience which can easily adjust to demand and provide a superior service to customers.
“Similar to the way Uber has transformed the point-to-point mobility, there is a huge opportunity for the airline industry to rethink its relationship with passengers,” said Novick.
He expects the new airline to start operating in time for the festive season with a Johannesburg to Cape Town route.