South African Airways is being saved with new private investors. The government has agreed to sell 51% of the stock in the flag carrier.
Under the agreement, SAA will now be majority owned by the Takatso Consortium (meaning “aspire” in SeSotho) with a 51% control of the shares.
The South African government will hold the remaining 49% of the shares.
The Takatso Consortium is composed of Harith General Partners (which owns Lanseria Airport) and Global Aviation, which will together control 51% of the national carrier.
SAA through reorganization, has cut its workforce by almost 80% and cut its liabilities to around N$2.6 billion.
Global Aviation partially owns Lift, the new South African airline which launched operations on December 10, 2020.
Lift is a joint venture between former Kulula.com CEO Gidon Novick, former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache, and aircraft leasing company Global Airways, a South African-based ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) company operating a fleet of Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft.
Lift currently operates three Airbus A320s.
Lift is a new airline in South Africa. The new airline is planning to launch domestic Airbus A320 flights between Johannesburg and both George and Cape Town on December 10, 2020.
The new entity describes itself:
Lift is a new kind of airline with a different and more flexible operating model which uses technology to offer a world-class customer experience
The airline will operate three Airbus A320 aircraft and is a collaboration between Global Aviation‚ kulula founder Gidon Novick‚ and ex Uber executive Jonathan Ayache who have recruited a top team of industry talent. Global Aviation has 20 years of experience operating large jet aircraft and is a fully licensed operator with a comprehensive maintenance operation.
Challenges experienced in the aviation industry caused by COVID have presented an opportunity to re-think the way airlines are structured and to gain access to infrastructure and talented‚ specialized people. The industry is undergoing a fundamental change and new business models are emerging in the industry where stronger customer orientation and more competition are evolving. The airline has developed a unique flexible model where flights and routes can be quickly added based on demand. This has allowed Lift to re-imagine the processes around flying and to make air travel easier and less stressful for South Africans. LIFT travellers will in turn have full flexibility on their tickets‚ allowing them to change and cancel without penalties and giving them peace of mind particularly during this time of uncertainty.
LIFT ground and cabin crew will be kitted out by leading on-line fashion retailer Superbalist. Travellers will also be treated to “proper coffee” from Vida e Caffè on morning flights. Afternoon flights will feature wine tasting featuring a selection of South Africa’s top wine estates.
The name LIFT is the brainchild of eight creative South Africans who participated in the country’s largest ever naming competition‚ where over 25‚000 suggested names were received. Apart from capturing the marvel of the physics of flying‚ the name encapsulates a view of the world and our beautiful country. The winners will be enjoying free flights on LIFT and will also have their names inscribed on LIFT’s first aircraft.