Stephen Nthite, chairman of Velvet Sky, has called on black businesspeople to explore the aviation industry.
Nthite was speaking during the launch of the new route in Limpopo, where the airline made its first trip to Limpopo International Airport.
The airline was described as the cheapest in the country and 100% black-owned.
Velvet Sky’s launch comes just two weeks after the country had seen the launch of Santaco Airlines, owned by the taxi industry, which also targets the lower end of the market.
“We are the cheapest in the country. Our mission is to target people who do not know what an airline is, people who have never been in a plane,” Nthite said.
He said it had taken his team months and months of planning and convincing people that theirs would be a special and unique airline in South Africa.
“This is a tough industry and we are prepared to go forward. We went all out to make sure that our airline would be a success. We don’t want South Africans to be disappointed by us.”
Nthite called on black businesses to explore the aviation industry and a lucrative investment option.
“As a team we don’t want to prove our critics wrong but to make sure everybody in the country is proud of us. To start a business here in Limpopo was not our decision but flowed from the behaviour of the people here,” Nthite said.
The airline had done more than 1000 trips between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Nthite said they were targeting other provinces too.
The occasion was graced by, among others, Zion Christian Church Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane, MEC for roads and transport Pinky Kekana, executive mayor of Capricorn district municipality Lawrence Mapoulo, and Limpopo business and municipalities officials.
Mapoulo welcomed the airline in his municipality and said he hoped that the venture would bring business and encourage tourists to flock to their province.
He also urged residents to utilise Velvet Sky when flying in and out of the province.
Kekana said the airline would help the growth of the tourism industry in the province.
“This is history in our province and this landmark development will go a long way. This will add cosmetic beauty in our Limpopo skies. It is time that our airport occupies its space,” said Kekana.