Posted on: 09 October 2013 by Mark Howells
A court ruling in South Africa has enabled competitors of FlySafair to obtain an urgent interdict against the new low-fare subsidiary of Safair Operations (Pty) which has delayed the start of its scheduled services.
Dave Andrew, CEO of FlySafair, explained, “Unfortunately, and contrary to our expectations, the court has granted the interdict as sought by our competitors, which effectively prohibits FlySafair from starting operations until such time that the Air Services Licensing Council's decision to grant Safair the scheduled licence has been reviewed by the court.
“We understand that as an airline we have a duty and a commitment to the thousands of passengers who have already booked flights with us, and as importantly, the 300 plus employees whose lives will be affected by the court’s decision,” Andrew continued. “Our board is therefore currently considering all available options as we remain dedicated to the launch of FlySafair.”
Andrew noted that the company had taken all the necessary precautions to protect its customers in the eventuality that not all goes according to plan. “Following negotiations with all the major banks and having provided guarantees to the Air Services Licensing Council, passengers are guaranteed that their money will be refunded,” he reported.
“Having had time to study the interdict, we have made the decision to cancel all bookings and refund all passengers for tickets booked, starting with the most imminent flights and doing it as quickly as possible,” Andrew confirmed. “Additionally, the court today ordered Comair, the plaintiff in the matter, to accommodate FlySafair’s passengers by honouring their ticket prices and dates of travel as was booked and agreed to with FlySafair. Comair is further instructed do this at no extra charge to the passenger.
“Even though the news is not great for FlySafair, we are pleased that our passengers will be taken care of,” he added. “We do however, need to stress that the benefit for our passengers is that FlySafair has increased the number of cheap tickets in the domestic market and that we’ve driven the general prices in the industry down, which Comair will now have to honour as ordered.”
Andrew concluded by advising customers to “keep your eyes set on the skies as we remain confident that the issue will be resolved”.