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Gryphon Airlines SA ventures into Africa with scheduled services
Monday, 12 August 2013

Gryphon Airlines SA, a South African-based charter airline, is planning to start scheduled commercial flights from Johannesburg to Cotonou, Benin, by the end of the year.

Zep du Plessis, Gryphon Airlines SA ceo, told TNW the airline was applying for a licence for the Cotonou route, a process that could take several months. He says once the flight to Benin has been launched, the airline plans to venture into other destinations in Africa in the near future.

Zep was unable to give further details on the new route, as the licensing process has not been finalised yet. It has been reported in aviation forums, however, that flights will operate to Cotonou from OR Tambo International Airport via Libreville and Gabon, on a former 1time MD83 (MSN 49829 | ZS-TRJ).

SAA, Arik Air, Ethiopian Airways and Kenya Airways currently all offer regular flights to Cotonou from Johannesburg. Privately owned airline, InterAir South Africa, also operates on the Cotonou route.

Rod Rutter, coo of XL Travel, says he is doubtful that Gryphon Airlines SA will be successful with a regular service on the Benin route as competition in the region is fierce. “It is surprising that a new carrier is flying into what is predominantly a business destination. Generally, the corporate traveller will use SAA as the airline has an efficient network in Africa and has back-up equipment.” Rod says selected charter services would have a better chance of succeeding on the route.

Other industry players claim, however, that although the market for West Africa is quite tight, with SAA and InterAir already having a strong presence in the region, there is still potential for another carrier, especially Nigeria as Lagos is a growing business hub.

Gryphon Airlines SA is part of the holding company Jet Express. It is a South African-based charter airline operating under an Airline Operator Certificate granted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority. The airline currently provides aircraft charter solutions in the Gulf, Africa and Indian subcontinent, operating a fleet of passenger jets.

By : etnw
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