Re­struc­tur­ing and route eval­u­a­tion for Fly Blue Crane

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Siseko Njobeni

LOW-COST air­line Fly Blue Crane is eval­u­at­ing its routes as part of a re­struc­tur­ing process fol­low­ing the com­pany’s ap­pli­ca­tion for busi­ness res­cue last year, said busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tioner, Eti­enne Naude yes­ter­day.

Fly Blue Crane be­came the lat­est South African air­line to hit tur­bu­lence when it filed for a vol­un­tary ap­pli­ca­tion for busi­ness res­cue late last year to fa­cil­i­tate the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the com­pany. By opt­ing for busi­ness res­cue, the com­pany was tak­ing a step many of its peers around the world had taken in or­der to re-engineer and strengthen their busi­nesses, the com­pany said last Novem­ber.

The move came shortly af­ter Fly Blue Crane launched flights to Mthatha, Eastern Cape. Naude said as a re­sult of the busi­ness res­cue ap­pli­ca­tion the com­pany would op­er­ate un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tioner, as the re­struc­tur­ing of the com­pany takes place.

He said Fly Blue Crane, which has flights to Cape Town, Kim­ber­ley, Mthatha and Bloem­fontein, was eval­u­at­ing its routes as part of its re-en­gi­neer­ing pro­gramme, “in­clud­ing the fine-tun­ing of its sched­ules to some des­ti­na­tions dur­ing low sea­sons – such as the end-of-year break when busi­ness cus­tomers in some mar­kets are away on hol­i­day.

Pulling back

“This oc­ca­sion­ally means pulling back on the num­ber of flights to such des­ti­na­tions dur­ing these pe­ri­ods, with nor­mal ser­vice re­sum­ing as soon as the core trav­el­ling base is back,” said Naude. The com­pany started fly­ing in Septem­ber 2015, en­ter­ing a mar­ket that had seen the demise of other low-cost air­lines such as Na­tion­wide Ar­lines, 1Time and Vel­vet Sky, among oth­ers.

“I am very con­fi­dent about the air­line’s fu­ture, and have ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve that it is a mat­ter of time be­fore Fly Blue Crane over­comes its chal­lenges. Yes, there is lots of hard work ahead, but all is well and the air­line is op­er­at­ing as usual and ser­vic­ing its routes. The man­age­ment and staff are here and work­ing very hard, and look­ing very mo­ti­vated and de­ter­mined,” he said.

Naude said he had met all of Fly Blue Crane’s ma­jor busi­ness part­ners, and they had pledged their sup­port. “It is for these rea­sons that I’ve no doubt that the busi­ness res­cue process will pro­vide the com­pany with the op­por­tu­nity it needs to re­struc­ture its af­fairs, en­ter into and con­clude its dis­cus­sions with po­ten­tial key strate­gic part­ners, and ne­go­ti­ate work­able pay­ment ar­range­ments with cred­i­tors,” he said.

Naude said, while the busi­ness res­cue process was not yet as widely prac­tised in South Africa as it was glob­ally, it was on the in­crease and al­lowed for the re­struc­tur­ing of com­pa­nies to the ben­e­fit of all stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing cred­i­tors and em­ploy­ees. “As un­for­tu­nate as it is, it is nor­mal for com­pa­nies to find them­selves in dis­tress due to any num­ber of cir­cum­stances which can be over­come given time, sup­port and dili­gent man­age­ment.

In that event, the busi­ness res­cue process pro­vides com­pa­nies with the req­ui­site space to re-or­gan­ise and re­struc­ture their op­er­a­tions, while sav­ing jobs and con­tin­u­ing to trade nor­mally,” he said.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

All is well and the air­line is op­er­at­ing as usual and ser­vic­ing its routes, says Fly Blue Crane busi­ness res­cue prac­ti­tioner Eti­enne Naude.

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