As low-cost Kulula.com founder Gidon Novick prepares to launch a new airline, he has invited South African’s to come up with a name for the carrier. The new airline, which was inspired by Uber, is a partnership between Novick and leading South African Airbus A320 operator Global Aviation.
The new airline’s first flight is scheduled for sometime in December and will operate on the world’s 12th busiest route, between Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The first flights will be between JNB and CPT
When it comes to naming the airline, Nowick says he wants people to come up with a creative name that is unique and cool. Ideally, it should be catchy, easy to say, and memorable. Entries can be posted on the website brandnewairline.co.za, and the winner will be announced within the next couple of weeks. The person who comes up with the winning name will receive a year’s free travel under the conditions listed below:
- A year’s worth of flights on ‘airline X’ comprising 12 return flights for two (winner + partner)
- Max value of R2000 per person per flight
- Travel must be used within 12 months of winning
When speaking to South African business website Business Tech about his latest venture, Novick said,
“The pandemic has created a unique opportunity to start an airline that is not only dramatically more efficient but also inventive and creative by tapping into the unique talent that our country offers.”
He added that the airlines’ team includes experienced industry veterans and fresh thinkers from the hospitality and tech sectors.
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— Gidon Novick (@gidonnovick) September 22, 2020
“Similar to the way Uber has transformed the point-to-point mobility, there is a huge opportunity for the airline industry to rethink its relationship with passengers and be more’ customer-obsessed.“This can be achieved by bringing together industry experts, technology, and a fresh perspective and strategic approaches from other sectors”, says Jonathan Ayache, an ex-Uber Africa executive, who is also involved in the project.
A unique opportunity
Novick thinks that the global COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent downturn in the airline industry have presented him with a unique opportunity to launch a new airline. Because of the coronavirus, Novick has been able to lease aircraft for reasonable terms, acquire airport facilities, and skilled workers at a fraction of the cost it would have been pre-COVID-19.
Novick’s key component was to take a traditional business model and find how it can be made more efficient. Novick thinks that by starting small, he will have a considerable advantage as the bigger an airline gets, the less efficient it will become. He also feels that technology will play an essential part in making the airline more effective, saying,
“With the market uncertainty, a flexible model which can adjust to market demand is critical,” adding, “Technology has the ability to facilitate a seamless, efficient, and engaging relationship with our future customers.”
No debt is the key
The new airline is to be fully funded with private capital and not carry any debts, saying that debt can do incredible damage to a business, and especially to one involved in the travel sector.
“Staying away from debt is absolutely key to the success of launching a new low-cost airline,” he said.
Do you think now is a smart time to start an airline? Please tell us what you think in the comments.