1Time Airlines have gone into Business Rescue, another name for Bankruptcy Protection.
If they do go the way of Sun Air, Nationwide, Velvet Sky, and with a much longer memory, Flitestar, then control of internal and regional SA air travel lies with BA and with SAA.
Is that to be welcomed or not? Will Mango jack up their service and provide the opportunity to have enough seat pitch to actually be able to read a newspaper, and will Kulula manage to get their rust-buckets into the air on time for a change?
Past history tells us that if 1Time do go away, then the days of true budget air travel in SA are gone. So-called budget fares, probably about 10-15% cheaper than full-fares, will be the order of the day.
The question we must ask is what is the common factor in all these failures, and the answer is quite simple – SAA. If they were an independent business they too would have gone to the wall long since. There is also considerable evidence that they use their privileged position as a State entity to make life difficult for their competitors – blocking their aircraft on airport taxiways to delay them, blocking boarding gates so they need to park at the edge of the airport and bus their passengers, blocking their buying more fuel-efficient aircraft from other distressed carriers. Kulula’s owners, BA, are just too big to be bullied, and would retaliate in kind at Heathrow.
So, if you want to help 1Time and are flying soon, fly 1Time and wave at the SAA plane you see. Without using all your fingers.
For more details: http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2012-08-28-buy-a-1time-ticket-now