SAA’s revolving door for CEOs has spun again and Mr Vuyani Jarana has had enough. This is a large setback to the airline that carries so much of the hopes and dreams of those with an ambition to fly for the once proud carrier. But the snake pit that is the culture of incompetent management and politics in South Africa was insurmountable
The net result is that the much hoped for revitalisation of the economy expected from President Ramaphosa’s confirmation as President has not yet happened, particularly for general aviation. The aviation industry requires high levels of confidence as it is capital intensive and vulnerable to bad government and regulation. For this reason it generally lags a recovery and leads a recession.
But the great thing about free enterprise is that it will find a way out of a morass. That’s what entrepreneurs do. Thus, when the biennial AAD Expo lost its way, the Maiorana family in Wonderboom took the opportunity to tie up with the world class AERO Expo group. Similarly, when the Aero Club and the CAA over-regulated South African air shows, the humble Matsieng Flying Club in Botswana put on an airshow that makes South African shows look enfeebled.
The resilience of the private sector – and its determination to find a way round obstacles cannot be underestimated. Despite the false promise of ‘Ramaphoria’ I am confident the general aviation industry will find a way through the current depression. Here at SA Flyer we have been in a double squeeze: not only from the tough conditions in which the general aviation industry finds itself, but also print media has been under pressure from digital adspend.
Nonetheless we are adapting. The SA Flyer Facebook page is by far the most popular aviation site in Africa, with more than 6,000 followers and over 11,000 video views in the week this was written. And even I have more than 3,500 Facebook followers ! We find that these followers are lapping up the videos and are then searching out the mother ship – particularly FlightCom. And our two websites are reaching hundreds of thousands around the world.
Editorially, we have shifted the focus of many of our key contributors to the next generation of aviators. Thus Jim Davis has been persuaded to take a break from his retrospective Pile of Logbooks series and focus on what pilots beginning training want to know. Another greybeard; columnist Sara Lima, has been having chronic health problems and has given up his column to develop topical content for our younger readers. And our youngest ever regular contributor, Johan Walden's, accounts of his progress through his PPL, continue to get better. This month he has progressed to writing the key flight test – of the fascinating DA-20 - the ‘big little’ trainer.
The new dawn will arrive - just when we give up on the idea of it ever happening.