- Nic Vlok, Acting CEO Mango Airlines
On 15 November 2006, Mango first took to the South African skies, in what has now become our country’s trademark orange low-cost airline, bringing together families, friends, and businesspeople previously divided by geography. In the 11 years since our very first flight, we have taken off in many other memorable ways, which I would like to share with you in this celebratory article.
Not only did we double our fleet in the first decade of serving our Guests in the skies, but we also increased our network of destinations by 150% in the first 10 years. From a starting point of only connecting Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, we gradually added Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Lanseria, Zanzibar and George. Today, we have safely, and happily flown in excess of 20 million Guests over an average of 1 700 flights a month.
Over this time, we have also been privileged to celebrate various milestones and accolades along the way that have shaped us into one of the Rainbow Nation’s favourite airlines. We set the scene back in 2007 for us to become a multiple award winning airline. We were first recognised for our launch campaign by winning the International Budgie Award for the best advertising campaign at the World Low Cost Airline conference in London in September 2007, beating a strong field of well regarded low cost airline brands, including easyJet, Virgin Blue and Jet Blue. The theme of ‘I believe I can fly” resonates to this day and supports our mission of making flying affordable for everyone.
The next year, 2008, saw us scooping the African Low-cost Carrier prize at the World Airlines Awards, giving us our very first taste of international recognition, and has since set us on an insatiable path to reach greater heights as an airline. Not so that we can have certificates hanging on our walls or brag in articles such as these, but because they mean something to you, our Guest. People like businesses that are successful. At Mango we are a group of people who continue to strive for success in everything we do.
By 2009 Mango had carried more than 3.5 million South Africans since inception – the fastest rate of passenger growth in South African aviation history.
The leading Sunday newspaper, the Sunday Times has seen our desire to succeed and awarded us the Highest Ranking Low-cost Carrier in South Africa in their Top Brands and Generation Next awards, both in 2007, 2014, 2015 and 2017. The GenNext is the choice of the Millennials and Born Free generation, the Guests we will serve into the future. Some of whom have travelled with us as children, growing into teenagers, and now the trendy youngsters on our airplanes. They are a generation who do things differently, and demand different things from the previous generation. At Mango, we look to serve all our Guests in all the ways that matter most to them.
By the time we had been in the skies for 7 and 9 years respectively, we were winning the Skytrax World Airline Award for Best African Low-cost Carrier. In 2015, this was followed by the World Airline Award in the category Best African Low-cost Carrier. We also received nominations in 2017 for Africa’s leading economy airline and Africa's Leading Low-cost Carrier, in the World Airline Awards.
Where would we be without our ‘big brother’ Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). We are an integral part of the ACSA family, and since 2006 we have been recognised as the multi-award winning ground infrastructure provider. We have been the proud recipients of two Feather Awards for our Cape Town Airport operations, two Feather Awards for OR Tambo, one in Port Elizabeth and three in Bloem; and not forgetting, two in Durbs. Pretty much proving countrywide that the Mango team has our airport handling under control!
Some of our prouder moments in Tourism are the awards by TripAdvisor in 2017, for Travellers Choice: The Best Low-Cost Airline: Middle East and Africa; and being the only African carrier listed in the Top 5 World on-time arrivals list! Another one of the Mango pillars of getting you to your destination in time. Our on-time record has been consistently high over the years making this a distinct differentiator for us among our competitors.
As a proudly South African airline, we have to thank our Afrikaans Guests who collectively voted us in first place as the Platinum winner in the category LUGREDERY in the Beeld Koerant Readers Award choice in 2017. Dankie julle almal – ons waardeer dit baie!
And finally, if you are reading and enjoying this magazine, you will see the value in great publishing. On that front, alongside our partners in print, we tied for the 2013 Publisher’s Awards for Mango Juice design. We also won the Mango Juice best publication cover, followed by being a finalist for the best external magazine, and being a finalist for the Top Corporate publication. Our creative journalists were also awarded a Certification for Excellence in writing. In 2014 this magazine was a finalist for best achievement in design, best external magazine, and yet another Certification for Excellence in Communication. So to all our Mango Guests, we really do take this job seriously when we say “sit back, relax, and enjoy The Juice”.
In 2015, Mango launched its company-wide internship programme for unemployed young adults, aged 18 to 35. 87 individuals have participated in the programme and to date 35 have found employment with Mango. We also run a Mango Adult Basic Education and Training school in partnership with Triple EEE Learning which eventually empowers learners with a SAQA accredited Matric equivalent certificate. Currently 8 individuals are participating and working dilligently towards achieving their educational goals.
Mango has the CAA approved capability to give training to both our pilots and cabin crew in ‘Safety and Emergency Procedures’ as well as type rating for new cabin crew members. Individually and collectively our people prove every day that they are the backbone of this airline.
This year, through a partnership with Kimberly-Clark and BidAir Services we were able to come to the relief of those devastated by fires and floods earlier this year in Port Elizabeth and Knysna. Looking ahead to the next 11 years we want to assure you that Mango will always strive to serve the communities in which we operate. Join us in toasting to lives we have touched, and more importantly, will touch in the years to come.
In closing I’d like to quote the IATA Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac who once said, “Our Freedom to connect through air travel drives prosperity and enriches societies”. May Mango enrich you, your family, and your local economy through job creation, reuniting you with your favourite people, and serving you as the society in which we operate. Join us in celebrating the past -with a view to all our future accomplishments. To the next 11 years.