Durban – A new budget airline, Velvet Sky, was launched in Durban on Thursday.
This subsidiary of South African steel company Macdonald Holdings has analysed the demand and market trends in the domestic airline industry for the past two years, said Velvet Sky chairperson Cecil Reddy.
The latest forecasts by the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and the International Air Transport Association (Iata) project indicates that the domestic market will expand following the global recession.
According to Velvet Sky, passengers are already experiencing restrictions in existing low-cost airlines’ capacity, higher prices at peak times and increasing flight delays.
It is the first airline with its administrative head office in KwaZulu-Natal, thanks to Durban’s lower operating costs.
The airline ultimately aims to lease three Boeing 737s from Aergo. Only one Boeing will initially be employed to fly between Johannesburg and Cape Town and between Johannesburg and Durban, said Velvet Sky chief operating officer Gary Webb.
Other aircraft will be on standby. Plans are to introduce flights between Cape Town and Durban later, completing the “golden triangle”, said Webb.
Airline 1time currently has 18 aircraft in its fleet, Mango five and Kulula 24.
People will be pleasantly surprised at Velvet Sky’s prices, reckoned Webb.
Velvet Sky’s first flight leaves Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport for Durban on March 22.