'Food in, people out': Safair adds flights to help looting-ravaged KZN residents

Wendy Knowler Consumer journalist
The airline is ensuring additional capacity for both cargo and passenger seats into and out of KZN.
The airline is ensuring additional capacity for both cargo and passenger seats into and out of KZN.
Image: MARK ANDREWS © DAILY DISPATCH

Domestic airline Safair said on Thursday it would be sending bread and other essential food to KwaZulu-Natal while laying on extra flights to cater for residents fleeing the province, which has been brought to its knees by violence and thousands of looters.

“The effects of this week’s violence have been devastating and KwaZulu-Natal is now facing challenges relating to supply chain constraints and limitations on the movement of goods and people,” said Kirby Gordon, the airline’s chief marketing officer. “So from tomorrow [Friday] we are adding to flights into and out of Durban.”

It boils down to “food in, people out”.

“Demand for air travel overall is still deeply depressed, but there is clearly a need for additional capacity for both cargo and passenger seats into and out of KZN this week,” Gordon said.

The airline will be flying food in on behalf of companies to their KZN staff members, and to groups of people who have banded together to help their various communities.

“It’s easy for us to get food into the bellies of our planes, but we have to make sure that there’s a proper plan to distribute it on the other side,” Gordon said.

“There’s also a lot of demand for seats from people looking to leave the area, particularly to Cape Town.

“Bookings on this route have been very last minute, and via our contact centre we’ve learnt that a lot of people are flying elderly relatives and other vulnerable people out of the province until things calm down a bit.”

One-way tickets from Durban to Cape Town have been selling for more than R3,000 in some cases.

CONTACT WENDY: E-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za; Twitter: @wendyknowler; Facebook: wendyknowlerconsumer


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