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Airtime Airlines logoAirtime Airlines flights

Airtime airlines planned to be a full service carrier operating flights between Durban and Johannesburg (with a base in Durban, thus it would have become the first major South African airline based completely outside of Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport). Its slogan was "Durban's Connexion". It planned to fly between:

  • Durban and Johannesburg (3 return flights a day)

  • Durban and Cape Town (3 return flights a day)

  • Durban and Port Elizabeth (3 return flights a day)

  • We are concerned that Airtime Airlines had a false start. We'd like to see their planes actually in the sky before we start booking.

    Flight schedule

    This was the revised schedule they intended flying to:

    Durban to Johannesburg

    Flight

    Departs

    Arrives

    Frequency

    Effective period

    909

    0735

    0850

    Daily, excl. Sat.

    30 Jan 2009 - 22 Mar 2009

    925

    1140

    1250

    Daily, excl. Sat.

    30 Jan 2009 - 22 Mar 2009

    949

    1735

    1850

    Daily, excl. Sat.

    30 Jan 2009 - 22 Mar 2009

    Johannesburg to Durban

    Flight

    Departs

    Arrives

    Frequency

    Effective period

    916

    0950

    1100

    Daily, excl. Sat.

    30 Jan 2009 - 22 Mar 2009

    944

    1535

    1650

    Daily, excl. Sat.

    30 Jan 2009 - 22 Mar 2009

    958

    1935

    2050

    Daily, excl. Sat.

    30 Jan 2009 - 22 Mar 2009

    Flight reservations - purchase minutes!

    From the 4th January 2009 they planned to allow tickets to be sold at:

    online bookings

    email

    SMS bookings

    telephonic bookings

    flyairtime

    i@flyairtime.co.za

    37293

    086 100 2FLY
    (086 100 2359)


    Flight route

    Airtime required

    Durban - Johannesburg

    75m one-way
    150m Flyback

    Durban - Port Elizabeth

    85m one-way
    170m Flyback

    Durban - Cape Town

    125m one-way
    250m Flyback

    * It seems that there's an extra R1.00 charged in sending an SMS to purchase the airtime

    You need to book your flight within the Airtime Window (was 1 month when we last checked).

    Purchase Airtime

    SMS TOPUP <minutes> to 32FLY (SMS costs R1.00, free minutes do not apply).

    Pay your money within 24 hours of your SMS to top-up into Airtime Airlines' FNB bank account, using your 10 digit cellphone number as your reference:

    Buy ticket

    Phone 0861-002FLY between 8am and 8pm to book.

    Baggage allowance

    20kg free.

    Free extras

    Whilst the airline is marketing itself as low cost, it is adding a few frills:

    • a free snack &

    • a free drink (hot or cold)

    • free local newspaper

    • free bag-wrap for one piece of checked-in luggage

    • free airtime (prepaid top-up)

    Fleet

    Airtime Airlines is leasing 3 118-seater Boeing 737-200s from AirQuarius Aviation. The plan is to later change to an Embraer fleet (which is more fuel-efficient). It is rumoured that provisional orders have been placed for Embraer 175 and 190.

    Loyalty program

    Its loyalty program, iFLY Airtime, is planned to be launched in 2009. Members will earn airtime for each flight (which can be redeemed for cellphones or flights). There are 2 tiers of membership, with different sets of benefits.

    Airtime Airline staff

    Koomaresen Eargambram (also known as Vino) is Chief Executive Officer of Blackbird Aerospace Corporation, as well as being responsible for commercial operations of Airtime Airlines.

    Taken over from Nationwide

    Airtime took over much of the office space and airport counters previously used by Nationwide Airlines.

    Flyairtime.co.za

    A whois on www(DOT)flyairtime(DOT)co.za indicates that the domain is owned by Blackbird Aerospace Corporation (Pty) Ltd, with a postal adress at Blackbird Aviation Centre, 2A Jan Smuts. The billing address is to Interprise (Pty) Ltd, with email uniforum@interprise.co.za, postal adress "PO Box 1161, Rivonia, 2128" and phone number 011 560 9000.

    Under which licence and certificate does Airtime operate?

    Blackbird Aerospace Corporation and AirQuarius Aviation have a commercial agreement whereby Blackbird Aerospace (for Airtime Airways) is allowed to use AirQuarius Aviation's license from the Air Licensing Council of South Africa (ALC) and Air Operating Certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

    Similarly to the arrangement between Comair and Kulula, whereby Kulula operates aircraft under Comair's licence; Airtime Airlines is simply the trading name.

    AirQuarius Aviation

    AirQuarius Aviation is a Lanseria-based aviation company. The Chief Executive of AirQuarius Aviation is CGavin Branson.

    International Air Traffic Association (IATA)

    It seems that Airtime Airlines are not planning on applying for membership of IATA (other low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet are also not members).

    Blackbird Aerospace Corporation

    It is not clear who owns Blackbird Aerospace Corporation, but it is likely to be at least partically-owned by Koomaresen Eargambram, and speculation is that a player in the cellphone industry is involved (speculated to be Durban based iTalk cellular).

    Postal Address

    Registered Address

    P O BOX 57705
    INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
    DURBAN
    KwaZulul-Natal
    4029
    South Africa

    SUITE 01
    SPEKTRA HOUSE
    699 STELLA ROAD
    4001
    South Africa

    History of Airtime Airlines

    2 Mar 2009

    1time wins a court case preventing Airtime from using the word "time" in its name, the colour red for its marketing or the "ifly Airtime" logo. Desmond O'Conner, 1time's Commercial Manager says "We just want to distance ourselves from them as much as we can and get people to be fully aware that 1time is in no way connected with Airtime whatsoever".

    30 Jan 2009

    Commercial flights were scheduled to begin between Durban and Johannesburg (3 daily).

    28 Jan 2009

    South Africa's Department of Transport's Air Services Licensing Council says that Airtime Airlines does not hold a domestic licence, and has "called upon Airtime Airlines to follow the legislative requirements before engaging in any air operations, including the sale of air tickets".

    25 Jan 2009

    Commercial flights were originally scheduled to begin between Durban and Johannesburg (3 daily)...but date later changed to the 30th Jan 2009.

    21 Jan 2009

    The Department of Transport's Air Services Council accepts Airquarius's application to operate a scheduled air service in South Africa.

    5 Jan 2009

    Tickets start being sold for Airtime Airlines flights - see Airtime's opening prices

    10 Jan 2008

    Airtime Airlines website is up and running for the first time, offering a Durban to Johannesburg return ticket and a R25 airtime voucher for R795. Here's a screenshot of the Airtime Airlines website. The website was designed by Dragan Grafix.

    15 Dec 2008

    Airtime Airlines plans to give South Africa's CAA and Air Licensing Council of South Africa the mandatory 14 days notice that it will be operating flights under AirQuarius Aviation's licence.

    10 Dec 2008

    The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) says that it has not been formally approached by Airtime Airlines for landing and takeoff slots. South Africa's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)says that it has not yet granted Airtime Airlines an operators certificate (although it later became apparent that Airtime would make use of AirQuarius Aviation's licence).

    9 Dec 2008

    Airtime Airlines starts sponsoring the East Coast Radio's Top 100, and their logo is displayed for the first time on the East Coast Radio website.

    6 Dec 2008

    the Independent Online group tells the world about Airtime Airlines in a news story.

    15 Mar 2008

    The Times writes a story about Koomaresen Eargambram, South Africa's first black pilot who's dream is to open a domestic airline.

    Aug 2007

    Blackbird Aerospace Corporation comes close to purchasing the remains of Nationwide Airlines, before the deal collapsed over a dispute regarding unused tickets (Blackbird would not agree with John Cameron's - former Nationwide CEO Vernon Bricknell's attorney - demand that R71m in unused tickets should be underwritten by Blackbird).

    Sep 2007

    Koomaresen Eargambram resigns from SAA to take up a position as chief executive of Blackbird Aerospace Corporation (the initial plan was to expand Blackbird Aerospace Corporation into flight training for pilots and cabin crew by buying out the Natal Flight Academy (the oldest flying school in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa).

    1988

    Koomaresen Eargambram becomes the first black pilot in the South African Air Force.

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