Fantastic flight specials in May – Safair CMO

As the South African airline industry is battling with low demand, anyone who is looking to get away can expect fantastic flight deals in May.

This is the view of FlySafair chief marketing office, Kirby Gordon who was speaking about the current state of the industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown devastated the airline industry. Travel restrictions and a fear of catching the virus on a flight forced airlines to ground most of their aircraft.

South African Airways (SAA), which was already struggling before the lockdown hit, stopped most local and international flights in March 2020. The pandemic was essentially the final nail in SAA’s coffin.

Kulula operator Comair, which has been profitable for two decades, were also hard hit by the pandemic and lockdown.

The challenging operating environment forced Comair into business rescue and resulted in hundreds of job cuts.

Other airlines also had to adapt quickly. These businesses have large overheads which have to be managed – whether they are flying or not.

FlySafair’s Gordon said they have tried to manage the business as best they can during the lockdown.

“There have been a lot of discussion with business partners and lessors, and negotiations with staff to make the necessary sacrifices to survive the lockdown,” he said.

Kirby Gordon
FlySafair chief marketing office, Kirby Gordon

Commenting on demand and pricing, Gordon said it is difficult for an airline to differentiate itself through branding or service levels.

“We operate the same aircraft, we fly through the same airports, and no one can fly faster than anybody else,” he said.

“We offer a highly commoditised service which means supply and demand dictates the price point for your product.”

Gordon said there is currently a surplus of supply. Airlines in South Africa are only operating at 70% to 80% of what they are capable of doing.

“We are, in a sense, constricting the supply to keep the prices at a point where it is just about tenable to cover the operating cost,” he said.

The reality is that current demand for flights is not meeting supply. The low demand is resulting in lower prices as airlines try to convince consumers to fly with them.

This is good news for South Africans looking for cheap flights.

“Flights over Easter was very affordable, and May is traditionally a very quiet month for the airline industry as there is not a high demand from the leisure industry,” said Gordon.

“If anyone is looking to get away, I think there are going to be fantastic deals in May.”

Pricing comparison

The table below provides an overview of flight prices from low-cost airlines on the most popular route in South Africa – Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Johannesburg to Cape Town
Airline Date From To
Mango 5 May 2021 R679 R2,070
FlySafair 5 May 2021 R721 R1,222
Kulula 5 May 2021 R736 R1,222
Lift 5 May 2021 R795 R920
Airlink 5 May 2021 R949 R1,202
Cape Town to Johannesburg
Airline Date From To
Mango 5 May 2021 R759 R2,070
FlySafair 5 May 2021 R821 R920
Lift 5 May 2021 R920 R1,075
Kulula 5 May 2021 R949 R1,202
Airlink 5 May 2021 R1,001 R1,406

Now read: What it’s like to fly Mango after it resumed services – and its not good

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Fantastic flight specials in May – Safair CMO