New South African operator On Safari Airlines has shelved plans for scheduled services between London and South Africa, after a fall-out between potential investors.

The airline had planned to operate daily flights between Cape Town, Hoedspruit (near the Kruger National Park) and London Heathrow using two Boeing 767-300ERs acquired from Royal Brunei Airlines. On Safari's application, however, for an international air transport licence has been withdrawn and interested parties are re-grouping and planning to relaunch the airline later this year.

A working group representing potential investment groups has been convened by Dr Danisa Baloyi, deputy chairman of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, to work on a new initiative.

The fall-out happened between potential black empowerment majority shareholders and aviation consultant Terry Bengis, who until recently was leading the application. On Safari says prospective majority stakeholders lost confidence in Bengis. The consultant blames "personality differences".

John Murray, former chief executive of SA Alliance, is to continue the operational groundwork which involves a review of routes, airports and aircraft.

The airline is considering dropping Hoedspruit for Johannesburg and may acquire two 747-300s. Slots available to the airline at Heathrow are expected to expire and will have to be renegotiated.

Source: Flight International