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New SA carrier to take to the skies-Velvet Sky

posted Mar 18, 2011, 1:33 AM by Rowan Hewitt


18 Fri, Mar 2011



STARTING March 22, South Africa’s newest carrier will launch its inaugural flight from Johannesburg to Durban.

Following months of speculation and rumours, Velvet Sky Aviation yesterday announced its launch.

Said the carrier in a statement: “As a start-up airline offering the lowest possible ticket prices, our corporate philosophy mandates cost saving through all levels of our operation. It was this mandate that dictated Durban, with its lowered operating costs away from the bustle of our competition, as the administrative hub of the business.”

The Velvet Sky Aviation group, established in 2009, describes itself as an independent operator and the first airline in South Africa to be managed and run out of KwaZulu Natal. The airline says it has no affiliation with any other start-up airline.  

It will initially operate between Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, offering a “competitively priced and punctual service” to business and leisure travellers in the domestic air travel market. Velvet Sky will operate Boeing 737s that have been sourced from international aircraft leasing company, Aergo.

“Having spent the last two years assessing the trends and demands of the airline industry, we are extremely eager to enter this market and believe that now is, without doubt, the perfect time to do so,” said Cecil Reddy, chairman of Velvet Sky. “Velvet Sky will offer passengers more choice when making their travel arrangements through realistic scheduling, competitive pricing and adding capacity to the busier routes.

“Our approach to launching Velvet Sky has been particularly cautious, as our aim is to guarantee an operation that will ultimately delight the South African travelling public. The increased volume of air passengers has led us to believe that the market is ready for a new entrant to bring us back to the hallmarks of air carriage.

“In-flight service will consist of pre-ordered snack boxes and drinks which are available online as part of the booking process. You can also book meals at the check-in desks in the terminals. LSG Skychefs, which are part of the Lufthansa group and the world-class market leader in SA, will be providing on board catering. Alcohol is unavailable on our flights, for now.”

Tickets are available for purchase on the airline’s website www.flyvelvetsky.com effective March 18 at 12h00.

The group also confirmed that it was at an advanced stage of discussions that would link the airline with retail partners that enhanced its service offering. The group said that it was also at an advanced stage of conferring with a leading national ticketing agent and had further intentions to tie in with an internationally acclaimed hotel and resort chain.

“In addition to partnering with a ticketing agent, we have also formed alliances with low-cost industry leader First Car Rental. These and future partnerships will ensure that our passengers benefit from amazing package deals when planning their travel experiences with us - from reasonable accommodation to car-rental offers that suit all budgets, whether you are flying for business or pleasure,” confirms Reddy.

Background:

Velvet Sky is the newest addition to the Macdonald Holdings stable. While this steel and engineering group is a newcomer to the airline industry, they bring 40 years of stability, best practice corporate governance and global business expertise to the fledgling company.

Macdonald Holdings (www.macdonaldholidings.com), founded in 1970, is a diversified, privately owned and South African group that employs over 700 people. It is regarded as an industry leader in the field of strategic supply and produces a diversified range of engineering products.

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