The move follows the announcement on 10 September by the Mauritian government to re-open the island to South African travellers.
“In just about 7 years we’ve managed to gain a fairly strong footprint in the South African domestic market. Finally breaking beyond local borders is an exciting milestone for us,” says Elmar Conradie, CEO of FlySafair.
The airline was granted the rights to operate to Mauritius in December of 2020, but the second and third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic halted launch plans. “Mauritius holds a special place in the hearts of South Africans, and we’re so looking forward to offering flights just in time for the December holiday season.”
On Saturdays and Tuesdays, flight FA800 will depart OR Tambo International Airport at 09h00 and arrive in Mauritius at 15h15 (local time). On return, flight FA801 will depart Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport at 16h15 and land at 18h30 (SA time). Total flight times will be approximately four hours, and flights will be direct with no stops.
FlySafair will operate its existing Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the route. “We’re excited to take the same affordable, hassle-free and on-time model we use locally, and transfer that onto an international route,” adds Conradie.
Airfares on the new route start from R4,950 and will be available for sale across all booking platforms from today, 28 September 2021, with the first Mauritian-bound flight departing on 11 December 2021. Standard fares will include a 20kg checked-luggage allowance, and customers will have the option to upgrade their flight experiences with added extras like pre-selected seats, priority boarding, and extra luggage.
The airline will also be selling tickets in its new Business Class solution where middle seats between aisle and window passengers are blocked for added comfort and privacy.
Before closing its borders in early 2020 to stop the spread of Covid-19, Mauritius counted South Africa as one of its top five tourist markets. According to Statistics Mauritius, over 118,000 South Africans visited the island in 2019. Now, with travel restrictions having relaxed in stages and the island accepting South African tourists again, its once-thriving tourism industry will get a much-needed boost.
“The losses suffered by the airline industry have been great, but as the world continues to open up, it offers us hope that we’ll be able to rebuild,” says Conradie.
“Despite these challenges, the FlySafair team has remained resilient, innovative and strategic. Our conservative approach has served us well during the hardest parts of lockdown, but it’s our bullish nature that has helped us embrace new opportunities for the airline and bring new services to our customers.”
FlySafair most recently introduced a Business Class fare offering to its corporate passengers, launched a new route between Cape Town and Bloemfontein, built an app, and added a packaged holiday offering.
“Mauritius is one of the many new feathers in our cap over the last year and a half,” explains Conradie. “We’ll continue to make the right investments at the right time for our staff and customers to ensure our long-term sustainability as an airline in the South African market and beyond.”