Flysafair: Spreading Wings Beyond South Africa’s Borders

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After more than 2 years since acquiring traffic rights, Flysafair, South Africa’s preeminent low-cost airline is set to finally launch its first cross border operation to Mauritius

The airline’s marketing chief,  Kirby Gordon describes the past 2 years as a series of false starts for the Mauritius route, with the latest revised launch date having been on the 10th of December 2021, at the onset of the Omicron chaos that led to the cancellation of outbound flights from countries in the Southern African region. Mauritius has been very strict in its approach to protocols around travel in the face of the corona virus pandemic and it was no surprise when the island nation imposed a ban on fights from South Africa on the 27th of November, a ban which was extend to the 31st of January. But common sense prevailed with the country opening up its borders 3 weeks ahead of schedule. And Flysafair will be hoping that 2022 will take on a different trend for the aviation industry

Kirby Gordon elaborated on the airline’s first foray into foreign lands and what is keeping the popular budget airline ticking at this critical time. He spoke on the Aviadev insight Africa podcast with Jon Howell in his latest interview:

Mauritius launch

The decision to launch the route on 8th march is demand based with march being a particularly busy time for outbound holiday traffic from SA according to Kirby. The airline is targeting largely South African travelers in the form of expatriates, families and honeymooners for the route’s success

Route plans and Destination

According to Kirby, the route’s expansion is limited by a bilateral air service agreement with flysafair opting to fly its 2 scheduled frequencies on tuesday and Saturday. Beyond this the budget airline plans to add chartered flights based on demand.

The airline is currently in discussion with various other destinations and is hoping to access more African markets this year

One of the hallmarks of the low-cost model is aircraft commonality. Meant to drive economies of scale in order to achieve low costs for the airlines. Flysafair is no different with its all boeing fleet, and naturally any route expansion means the destination airport must be able to accommodate its Boeing aircraft.

With the industry decimated my the covid pandemic, airlines are looking for areas to save a buck. Kirby Gordon describes the airline’s appetite for route expansion as cautious but highlights that for a destination to be more attractive, Flysafair will be looking for incentives that can support potential risks to market entry

The Flysafair Product

The airline is also taking a cautious approach with the unbundling of air fares and in its pursuit of ancilliary revenues

Some of the latest innovations around the airline’s product offering include the provision of a neutralized middle seat as a business solution. A true product of the Covid era.

As a carrier that’s connecting a large chunk of holiday traffic, flysafair is now developing its ability to package holidays and this is an area that will grow with its expanding Africa footprint

Regarding the airlines product offering, the marketing chief says:  “We are looking for new ways to surprise and delight our customers while also finding ways to diversify our risk”


The covid pandemic has birthed a trend of partnerships in the form of interline and codeshare agreements especially from South African airlines. Flysafair has backed that trend and sealed interline agreements with gulf carriers Emirates and Qatar airways.

“There is a lot of appetite and enthusiasm to bring on more partnerships,” Kirby Gordon says

Listen to the rest of the conversation on the aviadev insight Africa podcast below:

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