If you were supposed to fly with low-cost airline Skywise today or in the near future then best you make other plans because the Skywise flights have been grounded indefinitely. Or at least till they pay the R8 million they apparently owe Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and ATNS. Skywise has admitted to the debit and that it was shut down by ACSA with immediate effect and has written an open letter to President Zuma asking for assistence.
Here is the open letter to Zuma.
“Open Letter to the Honorable President Mr. Jacob Zuma & Honourable Deputy President Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa
The Journey of Skywise Airline took off on 11th February 2015.
It is a 100% private and BEE women owned airline of South Africa currently doing 40 Flights a week between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
More than 200 people work for Skywise and it is funded with personal funds without any government support or institutional loan. Any business takes 6-8 months to break even and we were close to that.
With only R4 million of arrears with ACSA and R4 Million with ATNS, the airline is already on Fly as You Pay and duly paying its daily commitments to pay in advance. There was an agreement reached to pay the arrears in installments and two installments were duly paid. The third installment was due to be paid on 1 December for which an extension of 48 hours was requested and rejected.
We got a notice at 5pm dated 2nd December to be shut down with immediate effect.
We have 200 employees who will be jobless not only in the month of Christmas but God knows until when in a country with choking unemployment levels at above 20%. Surely, this is not what we expect from the Government authorities. When Government is spending about R1 billion a day in infrastructure development it is logical that they protect businesses that will complement such efforts and speed up economic growth.
While the aviation industry is a catalyst to economic growth, in South Africa it is a world where a few people influence the decision making processes for their own benefits, and are responsible for the previous failure of 11 private airlines.
People like us still take the challenge to reduce unemployment, grow the domestic aviation industry and the greater economy only to become a victim of financial stress when billions of rand is readily available to bail out the national carrier.
More than R65 million personal funds has been invested in Skywise and 4 years of hard work have brought us so far to serve the needs of South African travellers and continue to offer them affordable air fares.
For about 8 months we had made losses and we were now getting to a point where we can break even. With peak season ahead and more than 8 000 passengers having booked to fly with Skywise airline, they must be looking forward to have their holidays. Most of them have never flown before and now have a chance to fly on affordable rates because of Skywise airline.
For only R8 million in arrears government authorities have shutdown yet another private airline, and close the doors of aviation for new entrepreneurs. If Skywise fail there no entrepreneur will be brave enough to take the challenge to launch into this brutal industry! Will ours will be the 12th to fail!
Our aircraft, crews and staff are ready to take off any time, what we need is the government to intervene in this matter urgently and give us a chance to serve the people of South Africa and create more jobs and expertise in this industry. Or accommodate our passengers to fly with South African Airways.
R1 Building, Denel Aviation North, 131 Atlas Road, Kempton Park, Johannesburg”
Given the mess SAA is in i wonder what JZ is gonna say.