Cape Town - The former founders of 1time are being accused
of misconduct, with ex-employees of the low cost airline planning to lodge a
formal complaint against them being granted a new operating licence.
Ex-1time employees will be departing to the Department of
Transport on Wednesday to object the airlines previous management's application
for a new low cost carrier operating licence.
In the wake of 1time's demise, its original founders Messrs
Glenn Orsmond, Rodney James and Michael Kaminski revealed plans to launch a new
low cost carrier going by the name of Skywise, due to begin operation in 2013
pending the approval of its licence.
In an official complaint to be delivered to the Air Services
Licensing Council, the ex-employees claimed awarding the licence the employees
are requesting that the parties that founded 1time airline not be granted a
license, accused them of alleged misconduct and “failing dismally to
successfully run 1time Airline, with a blatant disregard for the public who
trusted in their product.
1time directly employs 569 staff who in a letter of
complaint claim that the former founders should not be “rewarded with licence
to operator another airline, as it will just be an opportunity to ruin another
listed company” and “put at risk the employees of the new airline as well as
the tens of thousands of people who would invest in their company as it would
be listed on the stock exchange.”
The letter further accuses the former owners of “not running
the company with prudence or with regard for those who depended on it as a
means of livelihood.”
The letter also called into question the business ethic of
the former owners who are said to have sold their vested interest in the
business, choosing to part ways with the company which had already amassed a
This debt that could have been averted according to an
aviation consultant and forensic investigator Christo Ebersöhn, who was
appointed by trade union Solidarity in September to assess the viability of the
Ebersohn also charged that the airline wasted millions
because of poor management decisions by 1time’s founders and its current
Fin24's sister publication City Press is in possession of a
summary of Ebersöhn and his team’s report and correspondence to the business
rescuers working with the company.
Ebersöhn said that both the old and new management – 1time
was taken over by a BEE consortium last year that was funded by the Industrial
Development Corporation (IDC) – had no clue about running a budget airline.
In his report, Ebersöhn said: “It is appalling to see that
management incentives are paid out annually in a struggling company where there
is no structured performance measurement or any accountability.”
Ebersöhn and his team found:
subsidiary Jetworx employed 422 maintenance staff to maintain the airline’s
remaining seven aircraft;
poured money into Jetworx to keep it afloat. Staff had little to do and only 70
were, in effect, actually working;
airline needed no more than 35 maintenance staff, and should have lowered its
salary bill for Jetworx from R2.5m a month to R600 000;
aircraft of 1time’s fleet were already grounded and were “cannibalised” to keep
the others in the sky;
pilots flew only 50 hours a month, compared to SAA and Comair pilots who fly up
to 100 hours a month. 1time could have saved R11m on pilots over a six-month
airline was plagued with poor credit and risk management, and large amounts of
money were wasted, and;
- “Lack of
knowledge and basic incompetence has resulted in major corporate and financial
risks being overlooked and not migrated,” said Ebersöhn in his report.
“Things that are important like corporate risk and cash flow
management are left at the mercy of less important matters like complaining and
blaming uneconomical MD80 aircraft,” the report reads.
1time employees are calling on the Department of Transport to consider the claims before deciding whether to approve a new low cost carrier operating licence.