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Phakalane Airways - new airline

It's wonderful for tourism that so many people want to start up airlines, but it's a dreadful investment - tiny margins, massive capital investment required to expand and a very cyclical industry.

  • 26 March 2014. IOL reports that Northern Cape government employees who raised issues regarding Phakalane Airways, have been victimised and/or suspended from their jobs.

  • On 22 January 2014, at Kimberley Airport, South Africa's Northern Cape provincial government launched a new airline, Phakalane Airways. The airline aims to ferry passengers around the Northern Cape - private sector passengers, government officials and VIPs. The airline has a 1-year contract with the Northern Cape government (the details of the contract have not been disclosed, and have been specified as being private).

It's not clear why one of the existing national carriers was not used on the route - SA Express, SAA or Mango Airlines.

News

24 Jan 2014 : The Democratic Alliance has labeled the new airline as being "an absurd waste of money", and called for the deal to be investigated.

Northern Cape cabinet boarding Phakalane Airways maiden flightWhat's in a name?

Well, we've noticed how folk like to take the mickey out of the name 1time - because you only ever fly once, and that its resurrection should be named 2time. Now, it's not hard to see the potential for similar issues with the name Phakalane - I hate to think what the abbreviation is that people are going to use after any delayed flights or areas where their expectations aren't met. We've also seen the problems with spelling a name like Kulula, and there may be similar problems with spelling Phakalane (can you imagine the possibilities!).

Maiden Flight

Also on Wednesday, the airline had its maiden flight from Kimberley to Upington. Currently there are no regular scheduled flights on this route, not even from the likes of SA Express and SA Airlink, which fly a lot of the secondary routes in SA. So, one has to question whether this route is financially viable. All of the Northern Cape Provincial cabinet were on the maiden flight, as were other officials. Appropriately for the route, a small twinprop was used for the flight, and some of the larger passengers had trouble getting up the small stairway into the plane.

Flight Training School

The airline plans on starting a flight training school, to help the disadvantaged become pilots.

Owners & Management

It's not clear who the owners of Phakalane Airways are, but it's understood that its privately owned. The'll have to be at least 75% South African owned to get a scheduled licence (just ask fastjet or Flysafair).

Captain Allan Roebuck is the Chief Executive of Phakalane Airways.

Your Flight

Don't even think of taking the amount of baggage you're allowed on the likes of Kulula or Mango Airways - maximum baggage allowance is 6kg per person (may consist of more than one item). Items such as crutches & wheelchairs are included in the 6kg allowance.

Check-in

A ticket must be produced at check-in and kept on you at all times. You will need your drivers license, ID or passport to show that you are the same person as on the ticket. Check-in starts 60 minutes before leaving & closes 15 minutes before (we strongly advise to get there well before the gates close, as it runs the risk of your heart beating faster, stress and possibly missing your flight). If you're under the influence of drugs (including alcohol) you wont be allowed on board.

Fleet

The 2 planes in the fleet have the Northern Cape government's coat of arms and logo on them:

  • a King Air 200 twinprop, which seats 9 pax.

Phakalane Airways King Air 200 twinprop

  • an Aero Commander, which seats 6 pax.

Aero Commando twinprop, in Phakalane colours

All seats are economy class, and light snacks & drinks are served onboard.

Flights Routes

On Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays:

  • Kimberley to Upington (1 hour duration, leaving at 06h15 and 15h30)

  • Upington to Kimberley (1 hour duration, leaving at 07h45 and 17h00)

On Tuesdays:

  • Kimberley to Springbok (105m duration, leaving at 06h15)

  • Springbok to Kimberley (105m duration, leaving at 08h30)

On Fridays & Sundays:

  • Kimberley to Springbok (105m duration, leaving at 14h00)

  • Springbok to Kimberley (105m duration, leaving at 16h15)

Depending on demand, non scheduled flights may be made from Kimberley to Kuruman, De Aar, Calvinia and Sishen.

Although not included in the routes, mention is also made of the possibility of flights to Johannesburg's Lanseria Airport.

Bookings

The airline is launching ticket sales on the 3rd February 2014. Flights may be booked :

Payments may be made via credit card or EFT.

History

In 2013 the Northern Cape Provincial Government issued a tender for an airline to provide a service in the Northern Cape. Phakalane Airways was chosen from bidders to start the flight service.



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