INTERVIEW Strong growth on North West route CEO of SA Express Inati Ntshanga talks about the operating environment for the airline. Inati Ntshanga BIOGRAPHY Inati BIOGRAPHY Ntshanga was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of SA Express in September 2010. A Harvard University Economics graduate, Inati has over 18 years aviation experience as well as senior management and executive experience in the private sector. As CEO of the airline, he also serves as Executive Director on the SA Express Board of Directors and in 2015 was appointed as the Chairperson of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa. What is the size of the commercial airline sector in the North West? Currently, SA Express is the only carrier that flies into Pilanesberg and we have grown our operations to include Mahikeng. We fly direct from OR Tambo International on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from Cape Town International on Mondays and Fridays. We have built partnerships with several establishments in the area to offer competitive and comprehensive packages for passengers flying SA Express. We have seen strong growth on this route and our expectation is this trend will continue. Since being appointed CEO of SA Express, what have been the primary challenges of running the airline? External factors such as fluctuating exchange rates, volatile oil prices and ever-increasing competition mean that as an airline, SA Express needs to remain relevant by being dynamic and innovative. Economic factors such as recessions mean that flying is not viewed as a more of a luxury service. The industry has definitely become more competitive over the last five years. This is not only been on the major domestic routes, we have seen new entrants on secondary routes as well. This has led to reduced yield for the airline, although this has been offset somewhat by market growth. Key challenges remain living up to our customers’ expectations and remaining a viable entity in a competitive trading environment. Which routes are likely to deliver the most growth for your airline in the next few years? What we have seen in some markets, is the stimulation of new market segments by new entrants and this excites us. We intend to grow our product offering to incorporate this trend. This will primarily be on our domestic network, although we expect our regional routes to benefit from a degree of organic growth as well. This is primarily driven by connecting traffic through our partnership with South African Airways and our membership of the international Star Alliance. NORTH WEST BUSINESS 2017 22
We Fly North West! Discovering the best of Bokone Bophirima is now only a flight away. As an airline of choice to North West Province, we now offer weekly flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Pilanesberg, and from Johannesburg to Mahikeng, all at your convenience. Because We Fly for You. Visit www.flyexpress.aero for domestic flights to Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, East London, Kimberley, Hoedspruit, George, Johannesburg, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Mahikeng, Pilanesberg, Durban and regional flights to Lubumbashi, Gaborone, Walvis Bay, Lusaka and Harare.