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1time founders to fly again

Directors who left 1time within the past year have applied to start low-cost airline.

JOHANNESBURG – Former 1time founders have applied to the Air Services Licensing Council (ASLC) for a licence to start a low-cost airline.

An e-mailed statement from the Department of Transport to Moneyweb states that Rodney James, the previous CEO of 1Time Airlines Pty Ltd and previous shareholders of 1time Airlines Pty Ltd, had applied for a licence.

An application by Cobolar Pty Ltd was considered on November 7, and published on October 5 2012 on Government Notice no. 714 of 2012, the department said.

It is understood that the airline will not be flying under this name.

The model presented to the ALSC was that of a low-cost airline, it said.

Earlier this week, Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO of Mango, told Moneyweb he “will not be surprised if by next week Friday we are back to the seven airline situation.”

A source in the industry suggests the new airline will be flying in a matter of weeks.

Two sources in the industry have suggested that the new airline could operate in partnership with London-headquartered, African low-cost carrier, FastJet. FastJet currently flies to 25 destinations from hubs in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola. Moneyweb has contacted FastJet for confirmation but has not yet received any.

Up until last Friday, FastJet had been in negotiations with the business rescue team appointed by 1time under current CEO Blacky Komani. Given that FastJet were negotiating a possible entry via 1time, one can safely assume the LSE-listed airline clearly wants to operate in South Africa.

The three founders (and executive directors) of 1time left in rapid succession between October 2011 and March of this year.

Glenn Orsmond, Rodney James and Michael Kaminski each owned around 21m shares (or 10.4%) in the listed entity.

Orsmond resigned on October 1 2011, following the announcement of a deal to sell a portion of the founders’ shares in the airline to Excalibur Aerospace. The Excalibur deal, to acquire a 29.6% stake in 1time was aborted a few months later in January 2012.

At the time of Orsmond’s departure, 1time reported a headline loss of R21.3m compared to a R14.8m earnings for the same period in the previous year.

Apparently, it was not 1time’s “disappointing” financials which prompted Orsmond’s departure. He just needed ‘Time-out’.

“When we started [1time], Rodney James and myself, it was eight years ago … after eight years [1time] probably needs fresh ideas [and] I need a break,” said Orsmond.

Orsmond said he would be moving to Cape Town to “refresh myself, re-energise myself”.

Following this, on February 29 2012, just over 21m shares in 1time, at a value of R4.9m were traded on the JSE. On leaving, Orsmond retained a stake of 21m-odd shares, and it is understood he disposed of it on that date.

James and Kaminski resigned on March 12 2012. An abnormally large amount of shares traded on specific days in May and June of this year, two months before 1time filed for business rescue. The average deal prices for these trades were 15-17c.

Calls to Orsmond and James’ cellphones went to voicemail.


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