Message from the CEO
From 1 – 3 June, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will be holding its Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar. Colleagues from the airline fraternity will be gathered there to discuss the state of the aviation industry.
Hot on the agenda is the area of skills shortage in the aviation industry. This topic will not only focus on pilots and technicians, even though this is the biggest area of concern, but will also address the issue of management of airlines and other related areas. Moreover, the role of governments will be addressed as noted with this excerpt on the topic: “Most governments seem to appreciate that a healthy aviation industry has the potential to contribute positively in terms of social and economic development. And some governments actively support aviation in order to see this potential come to fruition. But others, whether through punitive taxation of the re-regulation of commercial aviation in customer facing areas, are pursuing air transport policies that severely undermine the ability of airlines to deliver this potential”.
Another topic of interest at the IATA AGM is that of Airline profitability, and how it has eluded most airlines. The cost of operations continue to climb, be it through airport charges, navigation service providers, regulation, fuel or labour costs. Our goal at SA Express is to make flying accessible to all South Africans but the costs continue to increase, making it difficult to remain sustainable at low fares. The environment is also harsh for “low cost airlines” as their prices have increased to be similar to those of legacy airlines. Since there are no discounts for them from service providers, it makes it difficult for the low cost airlines to charge any less.
Without a doubt, the disappearance of MH370 will also be featured on the agenda as it touches on issues of safety as well security. The airline industry has to continue with efforts of attempting to understand what happened on that tragic day so that it is not repeated in the future. This tragedy has also shown the solidarity within the aviation industry as witnessed through the international cooperation in locating the aircraft.
The FIFA World Cup kick off is also beckoning with all eyes on Brazil from 12 June. Four years ago South Africa hosted the biggest soccer showcase and as SA Express, we are still humbled to have been part of history and national pride through transporting the teams in 2010.
For the 2014 World Cup, SA Express is collaborating with SAA and Mango and we will be sending 9 young people from all provinces to Brazil for a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a World Cup Soccer match. Some of these young people will be flying for the first time supporting our mission of making flying accessible to all South Africans. This partnership is in line with the implementation of the Long Term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS) where all state owned aviation assets are working together to leverage on CSI initiatives to position the airlines as critical players in socio economic development.
Moreover, our in-flight magazine, Indwe, is celebrating the 15 year publishing milestone. Over the years, Indwe has won countless accolades that include the Silver International Folio Award for best designed new publication, best motoring features in the Magazine category from the Guild of South African Motor Journalists as well as 5th best in-flight magazine in the world by CNN Global Experiences (CNN GO). Our aim with this magazine has always been to put you our passengers at the centre and provide you with content that is engaging, original, newsworthy and of the highest quality. We will continue to make Indwe a world class magazine that can scoop more prestigious awards globally.
In conclusion, the bravado of the young women and men of 16 June 1976 is still being hailed in 2014 as we celebrate 20 years of our democracy. Today June 16 is known as Youth Day and was declared a public holiday. What does this public holiday mean to you? What can we do to ensure that the youth of 1976 and the young people of South Africa benefit and contribute meaningfully to our young democracy?
As per our cover feature, we are showcasing Tumi Molekane from Tumi and the Volume. He famously penned the lyrical song ’76 that pays homage to all the fallen young heroes. I’m positive that his lyrics and story will resonate with both the young and old.
A peaceful Youth Day celebration South Africa.