First things first: the image wasn't in any way altered during scanning. In fact, the civair.com jet looks even more 'sif' (awful) in the real, magazine ad that appeared in a glossy men's mag.
This brings me to my comment vis-à-vis the payoff line: "why pay for more than you NEED". Okay, this statement is clearly aimed at promoting a 'budget' airline. This is pretty much in line with a (now 'visionary') comment made by a Transport Minister from the old regime in response to criticism of the food on SAA, i.e. "wil julle vreet of wil julle vlieg?" ("do you want to fly or do you want to stuff your faces?"), since budget airlines don't offer much by way of food these days (tip: bring your own!). So, the payoff line, within the context of cutting on the 'frills', thus being able to offer a low, low price, is fine.
However, for those readers who actually look at detail (in this case the Civair.com jet), it may be less comforting. The poor aeroplane would probably not even succeed in getting a place among the famed fleet of jets mothballed somewhere in the Arizona desert in the USA. The paintwork would make any Plascon rep poop in his pants and the (once) white sections look yellow and grimy (can't they afford a jet-wash?). In spite of the fact that all aeroplanes have to conform to safety standards and be maintained according to time-schedule, we live in an age where the 'book is indeed judged by its cover'. A little lick of paint (even if airbrushed on in-studio) would have prevented any possible safety-related, minimum standards, misinterpretation by the reader of the "why pay more for more than you NEED", because one cannot ever have, and pay for, too much safety. This is not a minimalist issue like food or leg-space.
The second comment relates to the 'figure and ground' issue. The objective of an advertisement is usually to have a non-descript background in order to focus the readers' attention on the foreground, which is aimed at carrying the intended meaning (in this case an airline). When I first looked at the ad, it evoked memories of a TV News-clip showing a jetliner, having lost power (apparently ran out of fuel), flying low, and then ploughing into an azure, picture-perfect ocean, somewhere just off the coast of Africa. The strong background (blue skies; tropical ocean) plus the low-flying jet in the ad (foreground) could serve as a negative memory prompt for those who remember the said news-clip rather than fostering the idyllic association the ad intends to convey.
On the more positive side, the two empty beach chairs and Cello are quite clever. The former probably intends to symoblise the two people having left and boarded the jet to London, leaving some Cape Town beach behind. The Cello, on the other hand, probably symbolises sophisticated London and its Opera House, music and art. The ad thus introduces some aspirational 'pull', attempting to draw people away from one location and to another, Civair.com serving as the medium to achieve this. Then again, in terms of detail, the fact that the landing gear is out does create some ambiguity, in the sense that a jet looks like it is coming in to land, which is incongruent with the general message namely that two people have just boarded for London. It would probably have been more appropriate a show a 'clean' jet (landing gear retracted).
Finally, the ad may have worked better in London ('fly from London to Cape Town for R1999'), because who in their right minds, would want to trade a beautiful, balmy Cape Town summer for miserable and cold London at this time of year - even if this can be achieved cheaply?