Planned new South African carrier Air Gulf SA has rethought its fleet and operational plans, but has not set a planned start date as it is yet to file for licence approval.

Air Gulf SA, launched last week in Cape Town, planned to start domestic operations with a fleet of Russian aircraft, including Tupolev Tu-154s (Flight International, 18-24 July), but will now operate two Airbus A320s instead. Plans to be a "budget" operation have been revised with business travellers now being targeted.

It is preparing to apply for a domestic air service licence, and initially plans to operate three daily services between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Chief Executive Enus Osman is reluctant to commit to a start-up date, as this will depend on licence approval which could take several months.

Osman declines to reveal the airline's ownership ahead of the licence hearing, saying only that Air Gulf SA intends to be the first black-owned domestic airline, funded by black empowerment consortia and United Arab Emirates investors.

Source: Flight International