Skywise pleads for speed

Jan 19 2016 19:33
Carin Smith

Cape Town - Skywise has sent a letter to Tembinkosi Bonakele, commissioner of the Competition Commission, asking that the low-cost airline's case it has brought against Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) be expedited and referred to the Competition Tribunal.

"We truly believe that the Competition Commission is an independent regulatory authority being accountable to the Department of Economic Development to investigate, control and evaluate restrictive business practices including abuse of dominant position," Skywise wrote to Bonakele this week.

Skywise was launched in March 2015 and in DecemberAcsa suspended the flights due to non-payment of certain debts.

Skywise announced last week that that it had lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission regarding the way its claims were treated by Acsa.

Skywise alleges that Acsa’s grounding of Skywise flights was "an abuse of dominance and a prohibited practice".

 Co-chair Tabassum Qadir said at the time a dominant firm was prohibited from refusing to give access to an essential facility when it was economically feasible to do so.

In the letter to Bonakele Skywise states it takes years of hard work and lots of capital for an airline to establish itself.

"Skywise Airline's plans for expansion, introducing more routes, acquiring new aircraft and creating more job opportunities in the domestic aviation industry were all jeopardised," the letter continues.

"The suspension by Acsa in December was neither in its own commercial interest nor for the South African economy," according to Skywise.

The airline said its claims in this regard can be proven.

“How was it economically feasible for Acsa to suspend Skywise Airlines in December for an arrear instalment of R1.6m, while it had a deposit of R1.9m and Skywise was on a fly-as-you-pay arrangement?” Skywise co-chair Javed Malik stated last week.

He claims Skywise had lost projected revenue of more than R50m in December.

Skywise is also suing Acsa for damages in what it claims to be breach of contract.

Acsa added that it affords all its airline clients fair and equal treatment based on the terms and conditions of the client’s contract and other prevailing formal agreements.

Acsa said it maintains that all its decisions and actions have been taken in the company's best commercial interests, while ensuring the sustainability of South Africa’s aviation industry.

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acsa  |  skywise  |  aviation  |  airlines



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