1Time CEO: We have not filed for liquidation

Blacky Komani says the airline did not file for liquidation, just suspended all flights.

1Time Airline shut down its offices on 2 November, 2012. Picture: Sheldon Morais/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - 1Time Airline CEO Blacky Komani on Monday lamented the company's financial woes, saying the South African aviation industry was not a level playing field.

The struggling budget airline suspended its operations on Friday, leaving passengers stranded at airports around the country.

Before going bust, 1Time had proposed a rescue plan which it hoped would ensure creditors got some of the money owed to them.

Komani said the airline was under tremendous strain.

"We were in business rescue and the business rescue process took too long for us.

"On Friday last week, we made a call to suspend our services. We have not filed for liquidation, we have suspended our services as an airline. "

Komani said government's decision to give South African Airways a R5 billion cash injection last month had made things difficult.

"All of us need capital injections and as private airlines, ourselves and Comair, we share pain."

Several budget airlines have filed for liquidation in recent years, including Nationwide and Velvet Sky.

Meanwhile, a group of 1Time passengers still stranded in Zanzibar are being forced to make their own arrangements to get back home.

Thousands of passengers and around 500 staff members were affected.

One woman said she had friends stuck in Zanzibar.

"There are no direct flights out of Zanizbar and people are literally being told by crew that there are no planes to collect them, and that they have to make alternative arrangements."

At the same time, banks have offered to refund 1Time customers for flights and accommodation.

Absa, Standard Bank, FNB and Nedbank said they will reimburse their customers for services not delivered.

Standard Bank spokesperson Sugendhree Reddy said they were willing to assist customers as much as possible.

"We really feel sorry for our customers."

In agreement with the rules of the Payments Association of South Africa, credit and cheque card holders will have to fill out a form and provide proof of payment for their accommodation and flight tickets and further give evidence that the service was not delivered.