From : Tourismupdate.co.za

22 June 2012

By : Jeanette Phillips

1time CEO, Blacky Komani has urged the travel industry to talk to the airline rather than talk about it. This was in response to concerns received by Tourism Update claiming that the airline might cease operations as early as September.

The rumour mill has been churning about the future of the airline, with agents now receiving queries from concerned clients. One agent said: “The travel trade needs to know before we have stranded passengers – again!”

Komani admitted that the airline was going through tough times but said it had survived the most difficult time in the airline industry – the first six months of the year. “We make our profits in the second half of the year. So, starting from July, things are looking good for us and I think for all SA airlines.”

He said he fully understood the concerns of the trade, given that the global aviation industry was under severe pressure. He said 1time was cutting costs to the bone. “As part of this cost containment exercise we have flexed our schedule to be in line with demand. This has helped us to fly more when the demand is high and less when there is no demand. We have also exited routes that are not profitable for us.”

Komani added in the past three months 1time had gained three institutional investors, who own 11%, 17%, and 20% respectively. “It is very hard to predict a downfall of an airline that achieved a number-one spot in on-time performance in May.”

He urged the travel trade to speak to the airline if they had any concerns about its viability. “Having been a travel agent myself, I can relate to their concerns but creating sensation around it does not solve our challenges.”

He said the 1time team had identified the holes in its business and were fixing them.