Santaco still plans to take to the sky
THE South African National Taxi Council has once again repeated its promise to take to the sky, which was supposed to have happened last year.
This time the national minibus taxi body is aiming at the middle of next year for its airline operation.
Without committing itself this time, Santaco CEO Nkululeko Buthelezi said the current fragile state of the airline industry and non-existence of relevant skills in the taxi industry contributed to the delay in starting the operations.
"We are working hard to ensure that the airline takes off. It has been hard for the airline industry in general. One airline went down (Velvet) and made it difficult for new entrants.
"We have identified other airlines to share resources with. We will take off next July if not before," Buthelezi said.
He said Santaco would engage the government in sharing resources.
"SAA (South African Airways) is running with empty seats this time (during the day), which means that taxpayers are paying for the flight to run empty. We will talk to the government about how we can take these empty seats," Buthelezi said.
Santaco caused a stir last year when it announced that it would launch its airline. In a much publicised event that was attended by President Jacob Zuma, former transport minister Sbu Ndebele and captains of industry, Santaco flew from Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg to Bisho Airport in Eastern Cape and back in September last year.
It said it would launch a full operation in November, in time for the December holiday high travel demand. It then postponed the launch to the end of March this year, before the Easter holidays.
The body also announced its new president, July Msiza, who took over from Jabulani Mthembu, who was fired after forensic auditors found he had allegedly defrauded Santaco. - firstname.lastname@example.org