South African low cost airline FlySafair celebrated the latest step in its expansion on Monday with the landing of its first scheduled flight at Lanseria International Airport, which lies south-west of Pretoria and north-west of Johannesburg. The flight originated in Cape Town. FlySafair is part of the long-established Safair group.
"We're very excited about Lanseria," FlySafair CEO Elmar Conradie told Engineering News Online. "It's just about the last destination in South Africa we can add, with our aircraft. We believe there's a lot of growth at this airport. At OR Tambo [International Airport], from October we'll be up to seven flights a day to Cape Town only. We need somewhere else [in Gauteng] to grow."
Currently, the airline will operate between Lanseria and Cape Town twice (each way) daily, adding a third flight in October. It will also operate a route between Lanseria and George (in the Western Cape).
"Basically, we have all the major [domestic] destinations now," he added, "Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, George, Durban and Lanseria is now the seventh one. We're quite pleased where we are at the moment, in our passenger numbers. That's just our existing routes. If you look year-on-year, we've seen phenomenal growth."
"We're very excited about this relationship with FlySafair," affirmed Lanseria International Airport CEO Rampa Rammopo to Engineering News Online. "We hope they'll add to our [passenger] numbers and not cannibalise existing operations. They believe they'll bring in new customers. We hope to develop new routes with them -- to KwaZulu-Natal, for example. We're very excited FlySafair is introducing a route to George."
The airline was launched two years ago with just two aeroplanes. Now it has a fleet of seven, with an eighth to arrive by the end of this week and a ninth to come in October. Its fleet will then comprise six Boeing 737-400s and three 737-800s. FlySafair now operates ten routes to seven destinations.
"It's been a tremendous growth, a tremendous achievement," highlighted Conradie in his address marking the first flight info Lanseria. "The parent company of FlySafair, Safair, marked its fiftieth anniversary last year. It's this experience which has allowed us to grow so fast. We hope that we'll shake up the market here [at Lanseria] a little bit!"