South Africa 11.11.2015 01:48 pm

‘We are signing a new aircraft lease’ – Skywise

Skywise Airlines | Pictures: Supplied

Skywise Airlines | Pictures: Supplied

Technical issues led to dispute with lessor – Qadir.

Low-cost airline Skywise on Tuesday denied that any of its fleet had been withdrawn and said, in fact, that it was on the verge of signing a new aircraft lease.

This follows after Moneyweb learnt on good authority that Star Air recently withdrew planes previously leased to Skywise due to non-payment. The same happened to another aircraft on Monday, which led to the cancellation of a Skywise flight.

Tabassum Qadir, founder and co-chair of Skywise, responded to questions sent by Moneyweb, saying Skywise is “Operating according to its current schedule of six daily flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town. This is the schedule which was announced on October 20. There have been no further revisions to the schedule since then”.

However, the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) website, at the time of writing, showed only one Skywise flight for the day: flight S8123 from Johannesburg to Cape Town, scheduled for 22:00.

When confronted with the above fact, Qadir said Tuesday is a maintenance day and subsequently there are only two Skywise flights.

Qadir denied that any aircraft had been withdrawn, but said ‘a technical issue’ with an aircraft led to a dispute with one of Skywise’s lessors. “We are in the process of signing a new lease on a replacement aircraft from another lessor,” she said.

The airline earlier tweeted:

Asked how many aircraft Skywise has, Qadir said: “Skywise has one Boeing 737 in operation, with another aircraft on standby as back-up. Skywise is currently reconfiguring an additional Boeing from a business and economy class configuration to purely an economy offering, which will be introduced to the fleet on December 1”.

She did not explain why the stand-by aircraft was not deployed on Monday night.

Qadir confirmed the resignation of Skywise CEO Irfan Pardesi, who held the position only since August 11. She said, “He was not able to take the pressure of the aviation business”.

She will act as interim CEO until a replacement with aviation experience is found.

Qadir said Skywise is a going concern. “Our sales are positive,” she said. Special promotions are increasing load factors and the airline will be opening a new sales office at Park Station in Johannesburg on Wednesday, to access the market of people who have not flown before, she said.

Qadir said “Skywise is here for the long haul”, which is achievable with the support of its clients and creditors.

  • On Wednesday morning the Acsa website showed four scheduled Skywise flights for the day. The first, flight S8102 was scheduled to depart from Cape Town INternational Airport at 6:40, but was delayed. Passengers said on facebook they were told that the pilot was late. One passenger complained that her flight was cancelled the previous day and she pitched for the flight on Wednesday, only to find it was delayed. According to the Acsa flight information it departed shortly before 8:00.

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