FlySafair reacts to court’s ruling
Following today’s court ruling in respect of which certain competitors obtained an urgent interdict against FlySafair, the new low cost carrier of Safair Operations (Pty) Limited, the airline responded with the following statement.
“Unfortunately and contrary to our expectations, the court has granted the interdict sought by our competitors. This order effectively prohibits us from starting our operation until such time that the Air Services Licensing Council’s decision to grant Safair the scheduled license has been reviewed by the court,” says Dave Andrew, CEO of FlySafair.
“We understand that as an airline we have a duty and a commitment to the thousands of passengers who have already booked flights with us, and as importantly, the 300 plus employees whose lives will be affected by the court’s decision. Our board is therefore currently considering all available options as we remain dedicated to the launch of FlySafair.”
Even though the immediate response received was not what FlySafair was hoping for, the carrier remains confident that this matter can be resolved. Although this interdict does impact the company’s immediate ability to fly, it has no doubt that it will be able to take to the skies.
On 23 August 2013, the Air Services Licensing Council originally granted Safair Operations (Pty) Limited permission to start its own domestic low cost operation, FlySafair. However, competitors responded negatively to the new competition and sought an urgent interdict in an attempt to restrain the carrier from launching.
“The Air Services Licensing Council agreed that Safair met all the necessary regulations as per the Licensing Act No. 115 of 1990, which is why we were granted the license to operate. However, the court ruled that our competitors should be given an opportunity to have the Council’s decision reconsidered. We are taking every step to ensure that the Council’s decision is duly confirmed,” continues Andrew.
Even though the interdict prevents FlySafair from operating, pending the outcome of the review of the decision by the Air Services Licensing Council, passengers who have booked tickets are not at risk of losing their money.
“We have taken all the necessary precautions to protect our customers in the eventuality that not all goes according to plan. Following negotiations with all the major banks and having provided guarantees to the Air Services Licensing Council, passengers are guaranteed that their money will be refunded in full should they wish to cancel instead of postpone their flights until such time that FlySafair is fully operational,” continues Andrew.
He adds that the court ordered Comair, the plaintiff in the matter, to accommodate FlySafair’s passengers by honouring their ticket prices and dates of travel agreed to with FlySafair.
“The benefit for our passengers is that FlySafair has increased the number of cheap tickets in the domestic market and that we’ve driven the general prices in the industry down, which Comair will now have to honour as ordered.
“Even though this is a setback for FlySafair, we are positive that we can overcome this hurdle, and we look forward to providing South Africa a new alternate domestic carrier to ensure more competition and reduced pricing in the future,” concludes Andrew.