South Africa’s new airline ‘LIFT’ opens for business just in time for the festive season


South Africa’s new airline is officially taking bookings. Established in October 2020, LIFT is a joint venture between former CEO Gidon Novick, former Uber CEO Jonathan Ayache, and local aircraft leasing company Global Airways.

LIFT Airline will operate on major domestic routes from O. R. Tambo International Airport to Cape Town International Airport and George Airport on the Garden Route and then later King Shaka International Airport.

The name, LIFT Airline, was selected after the public were invited to name the airline in a social media campaign. Over 25,000 names were received with LIFT Airline being submitted by eight contestants all of whom agreed to share the main prize of free flights for a year. 

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The airline’s goal is to position itself as a flexible air carrier that will operate in a similar fashion to Uber taxis with flight schedules being determined by popularity and demand.

“Anyone who travels with us will have a fully flexible ticket and will be able to change their flight as many times as they want to without fees. Our hypothesis is that with that in mind, people will become more comfortable to book, and less anxious about travelling,” founder Gidon Novick told the Sunday Times.

“We will focus our efforts on adding value, not cutting prices. We want to redefine the customer journey from start to finish.”

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