Gauteng West-Rand: Award-winning low-cost airline Mango celebrated its 5th year of flight to and from Lanseria International Airport this week as its 20 millionth Guest checked in for JE 645 that departed at 17:10 bound for Durban. It was Mango’s 12 000th flight operated in or out of Lanseria. Pictured is 20 millionth Guest Ms Nwabisa Madikane with the flight deck and cabin crew that operated JE 645.
Mango celebrates its tenth birthday this year. “Commencing operations from Lanseria half a decade ago was a strategic move to access a new market segment and service not only Western Gauteng but also make air travel more accessible from surrounding North West Province,” says Mango CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. Last year the airline launched a service between Lanseria and Durban twice daily. “After four years of sustained growth on our Lanseria Cape Town route, we introduced Durban as a destination and thus far the load factors on the newer route have been encouraging,” he adds. To date Mango has carried more than 1,5 million Guests in and out of Lanseria.
Bezuidenhout notes that a recent survey has shown particular growth in traveler numbers from areas such as Rustenburg, Klerksdorp and surrounds and as Brits among others. “We are focused on expanding the geographic footprint of our feeder area for Lanseria while maintaining a strong presence in the West Rand. The convenience and accessibility of Lanseria as well as accelerated commercial, residential and tourism development in the area bodes well for longer-term sustained growth.” Mango presently operates up to 12 daily flights in and out of Lanseria.
Mango has led the domestic aviation industry across several touch points; from being the first to develop a mobile app for booking and payment through to still being the only African airline to offer on-board Wi-Fi and the only carrier globally to accept store account cards as payment method. Over the past decade, Mango has also been recognized for its consistent on-time performance, service excellence and quality of product. The airline continues to operate on likely the lowest cost base in the domestic industry and holds the widest distribution network.
“A relentless pursuit of excellence drives Mango,” says Bezuidenhout, “and forms a fundamental part of our culture.” Mango has to date fulfilled every demand that its original business case sought. “What started out as a small 4 aircraft operation, Mango’s prudent approach to growth and commercially sustainable and adept market activity has delivered profitability in 8 out of 10 full fiscals. In a market where capacity continues to exceed demand, impetus has been to grow the brand on the one end of the scale while continuing to offer value and affordability to a wide market.”
When it launched, Mango set out to significantly grow the market and invite the previously un-flown market on board. To this end the airline succeeded with approximately of overall Guests noted as first time flyers. “Success in casting our net wider is not only a consequence of affordability but also of our wide distribution strategy and accessible payment acceptance practice,” says Bezuidenhout. “The number of credit card holders in the South African market is finite and, with the addition of several million Edgars and Jet account holders to the mix, an untapped market became available. In addition, retailing through Shoprite and Checkers Money Market Counters ensured accessibility and affordability of air travel to a far greater number of citizens.” He adds that a parallel could be drawn between innovation of accessibility and actual market growth.
Bezuidenhout adds that the next decade will see Mango soar even higher. “The airline comprises of a passionate team of individuals that continually create, develop and implement new and better ways for customers to do business with us more efficiently, to maintain a low cost base and offer affordable fares while continually reimagining our product to fulfil traveler demand.”