FlySafair to add new routes across Africa

After Comair’s collapse.
Image: Moneyweb

South African airline FlySafair plans to add at least 10 new routes across sub-Saharan Africa to take advantage of a gap in the market left by the collapse of domestic rival Comair Ltd.

The closely held carrier will fly to capital cities such as Nairobi, Lusaka and Maputo alongside holiday destinations including Victoria Falls, Zanzibar and Seychelles, according to a statement Tuesday. The company will add an initial five leased Boeing Co. 787-800 planes to the fleet by early 2023, it said, including four this year.

Read: Comair’s exit expedites Lift’s growth plans

Comair, the South African partner of British Airways and owner of low-cost carrier Kulula, applied for liquidation earlier this month after running out of funds. The group accounted for 40% of domestic air trips in South Africa and a number of international routes.

“The market has lost about 9,000 seats a week,” Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair, said in the statement. Adding the new planes “will help to plug this gap.”

South Africa’s aviation industry has suffered a number of knocks in recent years, including the lengthy bankruptcy proceedings and downsizing of South African Airways and loss of state-owned carrier Mango alongside coronavirus travel bans. Even so, the domestic market had recovered to about 60% to 70% of 2019 supply levels before Comair’s collapse, according to FlySafair.

FlySafair parent company Safair Operations is part owned by Dublin-based ASL Aviation Holdings, which is in turn owned by London-based private-equity firm Star Capital Partners.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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