The best and worst budget airlines in South Africa

Consulta has released its latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SA-csi) focusing on the best low-cost, domestic airlines in the country.

The SA-csi polled customers of British Airways (Comair), FlySafair, Kulula, Mango and South African Airways (SAA). The latest sample included 1,025 customers of the five biggest airlines who were randomly selected to participate in the survey

The data shows that FlySafair leads the ranking, with 78 points out of 100, followed by British Airways (Comair) which scored 75.7, and Kulula Airlines which reached 74.4.

Mango scored on par with the industry average with 74 points, while South African Airways (SAA) lagged behind with 68.8 and well below the industry par of 72.4.

“FlySafair’s performance has been particularly robust, driven by a focus on customer service and on-time departures and arrivals,” said SA-csi founder and chairperson, Professor Adré Schreuder.

“According to statistics published by the Airport Company South Africa (ACSA), FlySafair scored an average on-time performance of 93.6% for 2018, well ahead of other local airlines. What FlySafair has managed to do well is to balance being a low-cost affordable airline, without sacrificing quality customer service.”

“While the industry score improved from 2014 to now, SAA improved by a higher margin during this time, albeit off a low base. This shows that the national carrier has done something right, particularly its on-time performance, making it one of the most punctual airlines, while Kulula has the worst on-time record.

“It’s not an easy environment to operate in and the best performing operators are those that can maintain the most fuel-efficient fleets, deliver the best customer experience and keep capital and operational expenses as low as possible,” he said.

“Passengers don’t simply buy an air ticket; they purchase a travel experience. Improving that experience, from booking and check-in, through security, to baggage handling and collection all forms part of the overall customer experience,” said Schreuder.

Other notable findings from the study include:

  • FlySafair and Mango both have positive expectation-quality gaps of 5.6 and 0.7 respectively – this means that customer expectations are being exceeded in terms of the perceived quality of service received.  SAA had the largest negative gap of -0.9, followed by Kulula with -0.6, which shows that customer expectations are not being met in terms of perceived quality;
  • Customers of all airlines, however, do not feel that the price they pay for plane tickets is fair when looking at the quality provided by the different airlines. Kulula had the smallest gap of -0.6 on price-quality alignment, while SAA had the biggest at -6.2;
  • FlySafair is the clear leader on perceived value with a score of 83.4, almost 10 index points above the industry average of 73.7.  Kulula and Mango follow also in leader positions, both with a score of 78.8 while SAA lags far behind on 66.7 and well below the industry par score;
  • On perceived quality, FlySafair leads with 82.9 followed by British Airways (Comair) on 81.2, both well ahead of the industry par of 77.8.  Kulula and Mango both tie on a par score of 77.8 and SAA comes in last at 76.1;
  • In terms of complaints incidence, British Airways (Comair) and Mango had the lowest incidence of complaints at 4.2% and 4.6% respectively, followed by FlySafair (6.3%).  Kulula (7%) comes in on par and SAA well below par with the highest incidence of complaints at 12.3%.

Read: SAA cancels flights due to strike action

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

The best and worst budget airlines in South Africa