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*On this date in 2011, the official launch of Santaco Airlines occurred. Santaco Airlines is South Africa's first fully Black-owned airline.
They offer a door-to-door service for the black South Africans who make up most commuters using minibus taxis. While the taxi industry's poor reputation has left many South Africans nervous about the new airline venture, Santaco Airlines is trying to clean up its image. Unlike accident-prone minibus drivers, airline crews will be sourced from a charter company already out of Johannesburg and will provide aircraft, crew, and licenses to address safety concerns.
The taxi council's president, Mri Mthembu, said the airline would bring dignity to those whose only air travel experience has been seeing a plane in the sky. "The South African National Taxi Council," which represents 95% of taxi operators, made its initial announcement on June 29th, 2011, and said that is planned for when tickets would start to be sold. It is planned for the new airline to start flying commercial flights in November 2011 in time for the December holidays. Starting up a low-cost airline is a tough business. Running a profitable airline is even harder. From start-up airlines to established industry leaders, the process involves constant learning and adaptation.
Few businesses have as many variables and challenges as airlines. They are capital-intensive. Competition is fierce for Santaco Airlines; companies are fossil fuel dependent and often at the mercy of fuel price volatility. Operations are labor-intensive and subject to government control and political influence. A lot depends on the weather conditions. Santaco Express Airlines aims to strategically exploit various gaps within the South African travel and tourism industry to reduce costs and attract new and previously excluded passengers.
This will introduce a new breed of local and international travelers to the airline market and become the first choice airline in South Africa for the masses.