A BAD NAME IS NOT GOOD FOR BUSINESS NEW OWNERS OF ‘FLY AFRICA‘ ARE TOLD
(Posted 30th May 2017)
(Old logo of the disgraced Fly Africa before shutting down)
When Fly Africa, at least the ‘old‘ one much written about here at the time, went out of business it left many Zimbabweans, Namibians and South Africans begging for their ticket money back.
Especially in Zimbabwe did the airline’s management back then dupe unsuspecting people, who had not read the articles posted here or did not read between the lines of other publications, to part with money for tickets for flights, which were never going to take off, after co-owner Karase Chakanyuka had handed in the airline’s AOC amid many claims of irregularities and violations of statutory requirements. This at the time was denied by former disgraced CEO Adrian Hamilton-Manns, who meanwhile disappeared from the Southern African aviation scene after failing to get employed by any reputable airline and is now reportedly working in South Asia. Together with one Courtney Hill did Hamilton-Manns swiftly build the classical South African wagenburg around the company, continuing to feed their headoffice with cash taken from unsuspecting wannabe passengers who still fell for full mouthed assurances and their plight then filled the timelines on social media with endless narratives of them losing their hard earned money. If everyone so treated did in the end get their money back was also never fully answered as the airline went into a communications blackout soon after being exposed here for what they did.
Now does it appear, following an article written earlier this year in January (https://wolfganghthome.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/could-flyafrica-make-a-comeback-in-zimbabwe/) that indeed the company has new owners and will make another attempt to return to the skies over Zimbabwe.
Information received – while travelling last weekend – speaks of a new consortium led by Mugwagwa Resources planning to resume flights, initially with two Boeing B737-700’s. While not seen as an ideal aircraft for a low cost carrier to use when more cost efficient planes are on the market, were these birds probably purchased at a very affordable cost, though maintenance will then eat deep into the pockets of the shareholders as both B737’s are, according to statements seen from the company, undergoing heavy maintenance at one of Lufthansa’s MRO’s.
There are however conflicting statements now out, with the company’s chairman quoted as launching operations in the space of the next two weeks while usually reliable CH-Aviation reports that will only happen in August. (https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/56292-zimbabwe-flyafrica-says-it-bought-b737ngs-for-3q17-relaunch)
When Chairman Cassidy Mugwagwa then added that they will begin operations though with no official launch while ‘while our technical people get back into the business of things‘ it left the aviation industry in Southern Africa in stitches as several comments then affirmed which spoke of ‘putting the cart before the horse‘.
With Fastjet on the prowl again, following the relocation of the company’s head office to Johannesburg and their association with new major shareholder Solenta Aviation which has given FN access to leased aircraft, and other airlines like Rainbow (their operational status is presently unconfirmed and the airline’s FB page https://www.facebook.com/pg/rainbowairlines/reviews/?ref=page_internal has not shown activity since late March) launched since the demise of the old Fly Africa are questions already being asked how successful the new Fly Africa will be. This is a pertinent question especially given the name the airline carries. Sullied in late 2015 by the likes of Hamilton-Mann and his band of merry boys and girls in the airline would it probably be advisable for the new owners, Mugwagwa Resources, to consider a name change for a real fresh start as the memories of the duped passengers back then are probably still at the forefront of their minds.
As always, watch this space for coming updates, when, or if, the airline really does take to the skies over Zimbabwe.
Links to selected previous articles published here about the ‘old‘ Fly Africa.