Award-winning low-cost airline Mango celebrates several milestones in its near decade-long history. Mango marks its ninth anniversaryas well as carrying 15 million guests over more than 115 000 flights since first taking to the skies on 15 November 2006. The airline, profitable in 7 out of 8 full fiscals completed, also expects to announce a profit for the financial year ending March 2015 in the not too distant future. This, despite an oversubscribed market and challenging economic conditions.
“Despite current market conditions we expect a positive holiday season ahead,” says CEO Nico Bezuidenhout and adds that advance bookings for the December period are following a similar pattern as recent years. “Stays are definitely shorter than they were five or six years ago, but high load factors remain over peak times. In fact, demand indicates that several additional flights will be added on trunk routes during busy periods, with Cape Town and George notably growing in popularity amongst holidaymakers.” He adds that flights to Zanzibar are performing well and more flights may be offered as demand strengthens. “Despite exchange rate challenges, it (Zanzibar) still offers exceptional value get-aways with popularity continually growing.” He expects Mango’s network load factor to average 90% during the season.
Nine years ago, Mango launched with what was then the largest E-commerce event in the country, with more than 10 000 online enquiries per minute registered after going on sale at the end of October 2006. “Over the past nine years Mango has thrived. Its solid business model coupled with ongoing innovation and operational efficiencies has seen the business go from strength to strength. What started out as a small airline with a fleet of four aircraft has become one of the country’s most recognized brands and a significant role player in domestic air travel,” says Mr Bezuidenhout. Mango presently operates a permanent fleet of 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, in addition to ad-hoc leased capacity to cater for demand-peaks.
“Despite ongoing economic challenges and new market entrants toward the end of the 2014 calendar year and in early 2015, Mango continues to deliver a solid performance and continues to lead South African aviation industry metrics, as it relates to people and aircraft productivity alongside unit costs. On-time performance has remained consistent. “Mango’s key metrics benchmark favourably against the world’s very best airlines,” says Mr Bezuidenhout.
In less than a decade, Mango has more than doubled its fleet, increased its network destinations by 150% and operates an average of 1 500 flights a month. The prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards also recognised Mango as the top African Low Cost Airline in 2014 and again, in 2015, while the company also leads the market in the area of socio-economic transformation, being the only Airline in South Africa with a BBBEE level 2 rating. Mango employs a workforce of 700 people and supports an equivalent number of jobs in supplier companies, to which Mango has dispersed in excess of R10bn over the last nine years, in additions to the in-excess of R2bn the dompany has paid in airport and other taxes.
Mango remains the only airline in the world to accept store charge cards as payment (Edcon), the only airline in Africa to offer on-board Wi-Fi and the only carrier in Africa to offer booking, payments and travel management on the go with mobile apps for all major device platforms. The year ahead will be tough, with a contracting market struggling to support the injection of start-up competitive capacity. “Yet,” says Mr Bezuidenhout, “Mango has the strategy, the people, the resources and the sheer will power not only to sustain the airline through a turbulent economy and challenging commercial environment but it will thrive.”