Sun Air aims for a JSE lift-off
SUN AIR, the recently privatised domestic carrier, is planning to list on the JSE within the next two years.
The airline has landed ever bigger profits over the last two years and expects to improve last year's results by more than double.
Sun Air managing director Johan Borstlap said this week that for the 1996/97 financial year the airline showed a profit of R3-million. This improved to R14.5-million last year and the company is expecting to show an after-tax profit of R30-million this financial year.
Passenger growth for the niche business carrier has been meteoric - from 30 000 in 1996 to 80 000 a month in 1998.
"To list we need a good profit history and another two years should be sufficient to see Sun Air on the JSE some time in 2000 or shortly thereafter," said Borstlap.
He expected a government crackdown on noisier stage two aircraft by 2000, and although Sun Air's existing fleet complied with the regulations, new aircraft would have to be acquired.
"The domestic market is saturated. We are going to have to expand regionally and for that we are going to need new aircraft."
The airline this week introduced an innovative "executive" economy class which will allow businessmen who pay full-fare economy tickets to fly in a business atmosphere that will be curtained off from the economy section.
"Why should middle-ranking businessmen have to bunker down in tourist class with passengers flying on discounted tickets?"
Borstlap said Sun Air's niche was five-star business travel which he hoped would expand into 70% business and 30% leisure travel.
"But we are in no way taking on SAA. We are the corner store that knows its customers by name, not a hypermarket."