February 23rd, 2012
It was only a week ago that Velvet Sky, South Africa's newest budget airline, announced its lofty ideal of launching VIP chartered flights. According to a report by Tourism Update the company had recently purchased two DC9 aircraft from Tokyo Sexwale's family for R4.6-million, and were excited to break into the fast developing African luxury market.
Now, only a few days later, the company is facing massive repercussions, as a dispute with SAA Technical Services has led to large scale flight cancellations. According to a SAPA report, Velvet Sky spokesperson, Gary Webb said that they were in the process of changing service providers, but that they were trying to keep operation disruptions minimal.
Stranded passengers were mostly offered reimbursements on merit in the form of flights to their destinations on other airlines. Some would receive their money back.
Despite comforting words from Velvet Sky, the situation seems all too familiar and somewhat dire, especially in the light of Air Australia, a budget airline from down-under, having gone bust overnight with no prior warning. Could this be the terrible fate of Velvet Sky? Or is there hope at the end of the tunnel like there was for Qantas after their widely covered labour dispute last year?
Check out our Velvet Sky timeline below, and judge for yourself:
18 March 2011 - The Beginning: SA set for new local airline (Velvet Sky)
7 August 2011 - Velvet Sky expands fleet
2 September 2011 - Velvet Sky provides the first ever plane trips to Rocking the Daisies
9 September 2011 - Velvet Sky launches new route
3 October 2011 - Velvet Sky launches PE hub
19 October 2011 - Take Off for Velvet Sky's new routes
14 February 2012 - Velvet Sky goes VIP
23 February 2012 - Dispute with SAA Technical Services and cancellations