The newly formed LIFT Airlines that operated there first commercial flights today seem to have run into a few legal difficulties already, the SACAA have denied any knowledge of the airline in a statement released today. A second statement was later released by the SACAA retracting the original statement, claiming the original statement was a leaked "draft copy". Incompetence at this level begs the question "What is going on at the regulator?" (see retraction below)
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) wishes to advise the public and interested parties that there are no official records of operating licenses or permits issued to an air transport services operator with the name LIFT Airline.
The SACAA has observed, with a great sense of enthusiasm and some element of bewilderment, developments and media reports around an air carrier nicknamed LIFT Airline. At this stage, the SACAA is not in possession of and has not issued the necessary operating permits and licenses to an airline using the name LIFT.
Notwithstanding, what the SACAA records show is that a CLASS I Air Service License that has been issued in this regard indicates that Global Aviation Operations is trading as Global Airways. We have on numerous occasions requested representatives of Global Aviation Operations, which is currently trading as Global Airways, to furnish us with legal documentation that allows them to sell tickets and operate under the name LIFT airline. To date, we are still waiting for the said documentation.
Therefore, this means that there is no air operator certificate or any other legal permits issued to an operator with the name LIFT Airline or at least any other legal aviation permit that indicates a company operating as LIFT Airline.
This simply means that when any passenger or crew member steps into an aircraft with LIFT as its aircraft livery, they are boarding a phantom airline. The SACAA will leave it to experts in insurance coverage and the likes to decide what that means. Should consumers need to take an unresolved matter to the consumer authorities, it remains to be seen who the complaint will be
lodged against. Would it be Global Aviation Operations as it trades as Global Airways, or would it be the non-existing airline cunningly marketed as LIFT Airline, Touchwood, should something go amiss, and the aircraft accident and incident investigation team be required to conduct a probe, they will find no records relating to LIFT Airline.
We sincerely hope this, what seems to be a technicality, is resolved speedily and the flying public of South Africa can enjoy their flights with the newest airline in South Africa. Ticket sales for LIFT have proven that there is definitely a market for the new airline especially as we enter the festive season peak operating time for all domestic airlines.