Mango to quadruple in size

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Mango Airlines will "at least" quadruple in size over the next two to three years as it takes over South African Airways' short-haul routes amid a group-wide restructuring, its chief executive says.

"For Mango, I am looking forward to at least to quadrupling in size," said Nico Bezuidenhout at the Future of Air Transport conference in London on 25 November.

"Mango will play a more aggressive role in the short-haul space as well as the African space. SAA as a flag carrier will be more pronounced in terms of serving the purpose for which it exists, which is to connect our country with other countries, to facilitate trade and investment in industry by providing air linkages between South Africa, the African continent and key international points," he adds.

Bezuidenhout says the challenge will be to manage rapid growth while still maintaining Mango's low-cost business model, which currently gives it a 20% cost advantage over its nearest rival.

From next year, Mango will offer SAA’s Voyager frequent-flyer miles and other "fare-based" unbundled options.

In September, the SAA group undertook a fresh restructuring effort under which its three airlines – SAA, SA Express and Mango – are merging and SAA trimming its route network in a bid to improve profitability.