New South African airline Lift takes off amid pandemic
Last week, a new South African carrier, Lift, part-founded by former Uber Africa executive Jonathan Ayache and Gidon Novick, who ran low-cost flyer kulala.com, has been launched.
December 14, 2020: Last week, a new South African carrier, Lift, part-founded by former Uber Africa executive Jonathan Ayache and Gidon Novick, who ran low-cost flyer kulala.com, has been launched.
As per Reuters, the domestic airline is betting on low operating costs and oil prices to withstand an industry crisis that has left national flagship South African Airways (SAA) struggling to survive and sunk other low-cost carriers.
"We're fortunate, operating costs are as low as they have ever been. Obviously that is subject to the exchange rate," said Novick.
"Oil prices are pretty low. Aircraft values have almost halved, and people costs are also low, so we see a real opportunity."
Lift will fly 4th generation A320 aircraft leased from Global Aviation Operations, a South African-based charter firm. All of Lift's seats will be economy, and will operate between Johannesburg to Cape Town; and Johannesburg to George.
The name LIFT is the brainchild of eight creative South Africans who participated in the country’s largest-ever naming competition‚ where over 25‚000 suggested names were received. The winners will be enjoying free flights on LIFT and will also have their names inscribed on LIFT’s first aircraft!
It will compete directly with the state-owned South African Airways subsidiary Mango, kulala.com and FlySafair, among others.
Like their global peers, they have struggled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, related lockdowns and restrictions on travel.
On Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association said passenger demand continued to disappoint. African airlines’ traffic sank 78.6 percent in October from an 84.9 percent drop in September.