Gypsy uncuffed

Lion's Head and Cape Town

Skywise Airlines’ co-chief executive says their air travel pass allowing unlimited travel between Johannesburg and Cape Town for a set monthly fee was such a success in its first month that the airline plans to make it part of their core business and expand it, possibly even into something like a Eurorail pass.

Ooh, says our intrepid explorer, here’s a chance to make up for not getting the famous Delta (Airlines) Pass and spending a month travelling all over the States, getting 40 winks and the odd meal on Delta flights (like the coolest backpackers did back in the day).

Irfan Pardesi, Skywise’s co-chief executive, said on Monday he had been approached by someone in the UK asking to use Skywise’s model.
The airline was considering this request, he said, but the executive team was more focused on the possibility of expanding their concept further in South Africa.

Ideas include an alliance with other airlines that serve routes Skywise doesn’t to make it a more comprehensive countrywide pass.

Importantly, it is not just Skywise that is delighted with the pass.

The special offer of unlimited flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town for R7999 a month has been a big hit with customers too.

A high-flying media executive told Call Off The Search that this deal proves that consistent, high quality service at a fixed, low price is no pie in the sky.

Skywise spokesman Martin Chemhere said that more than 300 people had bought the pass, with more being sold every day.

He said it had been received very well, adding: “We continue to receive testimonials from satisfied customers.”

SkywiseCall Off The Search’s frequent flying source with a life in one city and a career in the other said she had used at least R20 000 worth of flights during the month. Importantly, she said, the service had been consistently excellent.

She told Call Off The Search that the increasing popularity of the deal had not impacted on ease of booking, which was done via a priority whatsAPP group or e-mail address.

She added that the planes were clean, the flights were on time and the service onboard was always professional and friendly.

That sounds easier and better than what one often gets while paying a king’s ransom for each flight on some other airlines.

Consistency of service is something Pardesi and Skywise will have to consider if they do create a partnership with other airlines.

The idea of the alliance came, Pardesi said, after Skywise received a lot of requests to expand their offering, especially from tourist agencies and operators in the hospitality industry in smaller towns.

He said the tourist industries outside the obvious destinations in Gauteng and the Western Cape were really struggling to attract visitors, especially foreign ones, who are estimated to spend on average $548 every day they are in South Africa.

He said that a countrywide flying pass, something like a Eurorail pass, where people get unlimited train travel in various European countries for a set fee, would likely expand the tourism pie in South Africa by encouraging tourists to visit many places they would not have otherwise thought to see.
– African News Agency (ANA)

Siobhan Cassidy

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