Kulula-founder Gidon Novick asked members of the public to name the new local airline he plans to launch later in 2020 – with ‘Lift’ emerging as the winner.
Novick said that the name was selected from over 25,000 creative suggestions from South Africans who participated for a chance to win a year’s worth of travel on the airline.
The coming airline is a partnership between established operator Global Aviation, Novick, and former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache. A group of highly experienced industry specialists have also joined the team.
“It’s been a tough year for so many and the airline industry is in a mess. We want our new airline to be a collaboration with all South Africans and a statement of optimism. This naming process proved to us once again how very resilient, creative and inspiring South Africans are,” said Novick.
“We had so much fun going through the entries. Some were so thoughtful and inspiring like ‘Ubuntu Air’ and ‘FlyMzansi’. ’Djyrynie’ and ‘Planey McPlaneface’ were never going to fly – while ‘Gravy Plane’ must have confused us with another airline.”
Ultimately, the decision was made to choose a name that was relevant to the category, unique, optimistic and of course easy to pronounce and remember, he said.
Eight individuals from around South Africa, all submitted the same name suggestion – Lift.
“The Lift team had open conversations with all finalists, and everyone agreed to share the prize. Each will receive their portion of a year’s flights. Their names will also be inscribed on the body of the first plane that takes to the air.
“With a name safely strapped in the team is now focused on its final pre-launch activities including getting the booking system up and running, crew training, aircraft preparation and marketing activities ahead of the first flight set to take to the skies in December when the new airline Lifts off,” he said.
Novick told MyBroadband that he is upbeat about the opportunity which the pandemic brings to re-look at traditional business models and find how things can be done differently.
He said the pandemic has created the prospect of affordably acquiring the key inputs to start an airline – aircraft, facilities, and skilled employees. A key focus for Novick is on efficiency and cutting costs, which include leasing aircraft at dramatically reduced rates.
He added that there are high-quality maintenance facilities available which are far cheaper than what they were a few months ago. Through experience he found that airlines get less efficient the larger they get, so starting off small gives a new airline a big advantage.
Another focus for Novick is flexibility. “With the market uncertainty, a flexible model which can adjust to market demand is critical,” he said.
He told MyBroadband technology will play a very important role to increase efficiency. “Technology has the ability to facilitate a seamless, efficient, and engaging relationship with our future customers,” Novick said.