South Africa's defunct domestic carrier Sun Air is being resurrected as a business class airline, its name and some of its aircraft having been acquired by a couple of local carriers.
Sun Air, due to restart on 18 March, was liquidated in 1999 after a price war and controversial takeover by South African Airways (SAA), which immediately closed it down.
Johannesburg-based charter operator Million Air Charters has bought from the liquidators Sun Air's three McDonnell Douglas DC-9s for $3.5 million and the use of the Sun Air name. Million Air jointly owns the revamped airline with fellow charter operator AirQuarius Aviation.
Million Air will wet-lease two of the DC-9s to Sun Air for operation on twice-daily schedules between Cape Town and Lanseria Airport, north of Johannesburg. Sun Air is aimed at business travellers, with return airfares priced below those of competing airlines, and the DC-9s reconfigured with 76 leather seats.
Meanwhile, the Sun Air liquidators are suing SAA and its current chief executive Andre Viljoen and former boss Coleman Andrews for R97 million ($8.8 million) that they say could have been made from the sale of Sun Air's assets. The liquidators also claim that SAA paid leasing company Safair R50 million to reclaim five Boeing MD-80s when Sun Air closed down. SAA is seeking a judgement to retrieve the funds.