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New SA domestic airline gets ready for take-off
Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Velvet Sky, a new Durban-based airline, might soon take to the skies. No official announcements have been made as the people behind the airline are remaining in the shadows.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority confirms the existence of a new airline but did not reveal the name. The authority told Tourism Update in a written response: “The SACAA can confirm that it is evaluating an application for an Air Operator Certificate. The evaluation of the application is at an advanced stage and it is envisaged that the process will be concluded within a few weeks.” SACAA said the remaining key operation that still needs to be undertaken before granting the new airline its licence and operator certificate is the emergency evacuation demonstration.

Kabelo Ledwaba, SACAA Manager of Communications, further reveals that the new airline will offer scheduled commercial services between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Stuart Cochrane, executive manager Comair, warns, however that capacity on the golden triangle might already be saturated. “The market, particularly the trunk routes, is already overtraded with too much capacity.” Cochrane continues to say the industry has seen numerous entrants come and go with the biggest losers being the consumer, so the most important thing with any start-up airline is that safety standards are maintained and that new entrants are required to put the customers' money in a trust and do not use forward sales to fund the start-up.

Velvet Sky has registered three websites in its name: and The websites don’t offer much information except for a link to career opportunities, in which various airline positions are advertised, mostly Durban-based. The career ads point to a March lift-off as cabin crew have been requested to start on March 1. Pilots should have B737 New Generation experience, preferably B737-300, and are requested to start work in February.

Popular business network LinkedIn profiles Velvet Sky as an airline start-up in South Africa, launching early 2011 on the golden triangle. LinkedIn further mentions former Nationwide crew in connection with Velvet Sky. Paul Green, former Nationwide Airlines captain, is taking up the position as Velvet Sky’s DFO. Karen Lane is mentioned as Velvet Sky Aviation’s manager of passenger services (she was previously Manager, Airport & Customer Service at Nationwide Airlines). Lastly, Frederick Bebington is mentioned as Velvet Sky’s Safety Officer & QA Manager since November 2010.

Dorine Reinstein

By : Tourism Update
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