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FlySafair stays grounded for festive season

The low-cost airline has concluded its BBBEE transaction but won’t take off just yet.

Low-cost airline FlySafair has concluded its BBBEE transaction but won’t take off just yet. Picture: FlySafair.co.za.

JOHANNESBURG - Low-cost airline FlySafair will not take to the sky this festive season, operator Safair's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Elmar Conradie confirmed on Wednesday.

Earlier in 2013, rival airlines Comair and Skywise successfully applied for an interdict against the carrier in the North Gauteng High Court.

They claimed FlySafair didn't meet the requirement of 75 percent local ownership.

But FlySafair says it's now concluded its full Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) transaction, allowing it to reapply for its licence.

It says the deal is the largest aviation employee share scheme in South Africa.

"The BEE deal is not a result of that [the Comair case]. We already started with this BEE deal in April/May this year. We spoke to some interested parties and eventually we decided on doing an employee share ownership plan rather than bringing in someone from the outside," Conradie said.

He said the company was fully compliant with the local ownership requirements following the deal.

FlySafair will now have to return to the licencing council.

"The first step is we need to surrender our current licence - the one that Comair complained about to the council. Then we need to reapply."

The process will not be immediate, meaning the company will remain grounded for some time to come.

A number of passengers who had bought tickets with the airline had to be accommodated on Comair as per the council's ruling.

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