SAA to offer Cheap Flights with its Own Low-cost Carrier TULCA

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Mango Airline

South African Airways (SAA) have officially announced that they will launch their very own low-cost carrier, called Tulca, at the end of the month. SAA CEO Khaya Ngqula says that “Passengers want no-frills and low-cost, and … we have to respond to what passengers want.” When asked what market share they hoped to capture by this bold move, SAA declined to give a figure. But I wonder whether SAA will really be able to gain market share from the likes of Kulula and 1time when it comes to cheap flights in South Africa.

Major airlines around the world have tried their hand at cheap flights, without much success. In most cases they have simple canabalised their own business when people choose to book cheap flights with their low-cost brand, rather than full-rate flights on their established airline. Travel Start list a number of failed attempts by airlines to open low-cost carriers on its blog. For example: “BA started a ‘Ryanair killer’ called GO.

They wanted to compete with Ryan on its Dublin-London routes. What happened? BA’s pasengers left BA for GO and thereby cannibalized their own business. BA were lucky. They managed to sell the loser company to a private equity firm that later sold it to Easy Jet. I don’t know what’s left of it.” Lets hope Tulca does not go the same way for SAA. Tulca is set to launch officially on 30 October 2006. It should be interesting to follow…

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