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Dec 02, 2009

African airline industry has room for growth – Deputy Minister

SA Express CEO Siza Mzimela and Public Enterprises Deputy-Minister Enoch Godongwana discuss the airline's rebranding (Videographer: Nicholas Boyd; Editing: darlene Creamer)
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While many believed that the airline industry would struggle to grow going forward, there was plenty of potential to expand the industry in Africa, given the lack of connectivity on the continent, Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Enoch Godongwana said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the launch of the rebranded SA Express business he noted that the company was sending out a strong message that it was prepared to be a significant player in both the domestic and regional airline market.

Godongwana emphasised, however, that the executive management of the company would have to drive this growth.

Nevertheless, he highlighted that the company has shown that just because an organisation is State owned, this did not mean that it could not be efficient, viable and profitable.

SA Express CEO Siza Mzimela highlighted that the rebranding of the company formed part of the company’s broader plans to increase its regional footprint and grow its business in the African region.

It would no longer be known as South African Express Airways, but SA Express.

The 15-year old company planned to ensure that it was distinctive but still aligned with the national carrier South African Airways' brand, while also being distinguishable from other airlines in the region, noted Mzimela.

The new logo would still feature the colours of the South African flag, with an X motif that represented a plane taking off.

Changes would be phased in over the next few months and would be completed by April 2010, Mzimela noted.

While she would not be drawn on the cost of the rebranding, she said that the company had held off on certain expenditures, such as the purchase of new uniforms and the printing of stationary, throughout this year, so that those funds could be used on the rebranded items when they were purchased.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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