Flyafrica blames de­lays on Air Namibia up­set

Finweek English Edition - - IN THE NEWS - BY TINA WEAVIND

The new low-cost pan-African air­line, f lyafrica, looks set to f i nal l y t a ke off bet ween Wind­hoek and Jo­han­nes­burg, and Wind­hoek and Lusaka, Zam­bia, at the end of June, af­ter reg­u­la­tors blocked its ini­tial plans to of­fer f lights from Fe­bru­ary.

The air­line, which al­ready of­fers var­i­ous routes in­clud­ing Jo­han­nes­burg to Harare from less than R1 300, and Jo­han­nes­burg to Vic­to­ria Falls for less than R1 000, ini­tially got the go-ahead for Namib­ian f lights in Novem­ber.

f lyafrica sold thou­sands of tick­ets at rock-bot­tom prices, many of which were snapped up by f irst-time f ly­ers. But days be­fore take-off, the Namib­ian reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties put the brakes on and scup­pered th­ese plans. The launch date was pushed for­ward to 2 March and then to 16 March − and now to the end of June.

While pas­sen­gers were com­pen­sated ei­ther with re­funds or prom­ises of free f lights, fury and dis­ap­point­ment were made plain on so­cial me­dia.

Tick­ets for t he Jo­han­nes­burgWind­hoek route was set to go on sale on 5 May, but was this time de­layed by the South African au­thor­i­ties who de­manded fur­ther pa­per­work from the air­line.

Adrian Hamil­ton-Manns, CEO of f lyafrica, l ays the blame for his air­line’s f inan­cially de­struc­tive de­lays on Air Namibia, say­ing that “they do not want to up­set the cosy pric­ing du­op­oly they have” on the lu­cra­tive J oha n ne s bu r g-Wind­hoek r oute .

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