Conradie, under the wing of Safair and holding the position of CFO since 2005, was actively involved in successfully getting FlySafair, their new low-cost carrier into the sky during October last year, causing more than a stir in domestic airline prices, a move most welcomed by many consumers.
In perfect timing, the announcement of their new CEO was made when FlySafair celebrated flying its 500,000th passenger in as little as nine months of operation.
Conradie has been involved in the aviation industry for more than 10 years with an added 17 years experience in the financial field as a qualified chartered accountant and certified information auditor. With his expertise at the helm FlySafair is surely guaranteed continued growth while Safair’s superb reputation will be comfortably sustained under his responsibility.
“Having worked at Safair for the past 10 years, I have an intimate understanding of the business. Safair has assisted a number of successful carriers to launch in the market and it has given us experience and insight into how we can successfully disrupt the low-cost carrier and e-commerce space. My goal at FlySafair is to continue to provide our customers with on-time, affordable and accessible domestic travel,” says Conradie.
This year Safair celebrated 50 successful years as leaders in specialist aviation and obtained an additional Lockheed Hercules L100-30 to their fleet. Undoubtedly they’ll continue to shine as one of the most steadfast and notable aviation operators in Africa’s history.
As little as nine months ago, FlySafair commenced operations between Johannesburg and Cape Town and just a year later, October 25th sees the expansion of their operating network with the airline flying to Durban and East London, bringing their total number of destinations to six, effectively covering the network for domestic air travel in South Africa.
Exciting news on fleet upgrades was shared by Conradie. Confirmed recently, in addition to the airline’s present fleet of five Boeing 737-400 aircraft, they will be adding three Boeing 737-800s. While the aircraft are similar, the 800 has a slightly longer fuselage and capacity, allowing approximately 21 additional passengers. “Upgrading to 737-800s is the next step in the evolution of a low-cost carrier. Our growth has prompted us to take this step much earlier so that we can continue to offer a competitive route network and schedule, and achieve a lower cost per seat,” says Conradie.
The airline is also investing in refurbishing the interiors of their aircraft with state-of-the-art new seats. “The new seats are specially designed to offer passengers as much space and comfort as possible, and at the same time save on weight and therefore fuel costs” adds Conradie.
“This is an incredible time for aviation in South Africa,” he concludes. “With increased competition we are seeing the emergence of a better and more affordable product which is a huge win for the consumer. As an airline, we need to be at the top of our game, ensuring that costs are controlled, operations are flawless, passengers are happy and that there’s enough meaningful innovation in the pipeline to give us an edge tomorrow.”
Conradie took over the reins from Dave Andrew, who remains on as a director.