New South African airline LIFT nears flights launch


Counting the last few days until the official launch of the service, LIFT Airline, a new South African air carrier, will try to overpower the domestic air travel with three aircraft on its fleet, which will operate only to two destinations.

Despite the other players of the region’s industry reducing the volume of their operations, begging for state aid, or even being forced to file for bankruptcy, the new airline is in its final preparations to launch the service in South Africa on December 10, 2020. 

Being a joint venture between Gidon Novick, the former CEO of, and Jonathan Avanche, the former CEO of UBER, Global Airways and a local leasing company, LIFT plans to enter the market with three Airbus A320 Family aircraft in its fleet. With these narrow-bodies, the newcomer set itself a target to tap into domestic demand that was battered by the COVID-19 related almost five-month-long internal travel ban. The main reason why the new airline steps into the market in such volatile operating conditions, is supposedly low starting up costs during the pandemic.

“The opportunity is here now to go into the consumer airline space – especially given the current environment. The current cost structures are about 40% lower than what it would have cost to start an airline before the coronavirus,“ said Novick while speaking to local media.

According to the flight schedule found on, LIFT plans to inaugurate the launch of operations with its very first more than half-an- hour-long flight from George Airport (GRJ) to Johannesburg – OR Tambo International Airport (JNB). In addition, the new airline will also offer its customers regular daily flights between JNB airport to Cape Town International Airport (CPT).

The ambitious plan to capture the domestic flight market follows the grounding of its possibly-potential competitor South African Airlines (SAA) that filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2019. Meanwhile, LIFT will also try to take the chance to attract passenger demand as it launches the service at the beginning of the South African summer holiday season.

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