13 January 2016

South Africa: Acsa Hits Back At Skywise Allegations

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) confirmed on Wednesday that it is aware of all allegations and legal action instituted against the company by Skywise Airline.

Acsa said it is currently in the process of responding to the summons of December 22 2015 in which low-cost airline Skywise claims damages and will comply fully with all ensuing legal processes.

Skywise is claiming damages for what it alleges to be a breach of contract by Acsa.

Acsa said it has also taken note of media reports this week that Skywise has named it as a respondent in a complaint submitted to the Competition Commission.

"Acsa has not received any formal communication or correspondence from the Competition Commission, however, the company will provide its full cooperation with any investigation that the Competition Commission might institute," Acsa said in a statement. Acsa said it further notes media reports containing allegations that it affords South African Airways preferential treatment.

"Acsa wishes to reaffirm that it affords all its airline clients fair and equal treatment based on the terms and conditions of the client's contract and other prevailing formal agreements," it emphasised.

"Should any airline fail to operate within the terms and conditions of our engagement, breach Acsa's level of acceptable credit risk appetite, or not conform to the regulations of the Government Gazette Notice 1164 of 2014, Acsa will take the necessary appropriate actions to minimise risk exposure."

Acsa said it maintains that all its decisions and actions have been taken in the company's best commercial interests, while ensuring the sustainability of South Africa's aviation industry.

Skywise announced on Tuesday that it has lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission regarding the way it claims it was treated by the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).

Skywise alleges that Acsa's grounding of Skywise flights was "an abuse of dominance and a prohibited practice".

"How was it economically feasible for Acsa to suspend Skywise Airlines in December for an arrear instalment of R1.6m, while it had a deposit of R1.9m and Skywise was on a fly-as-you-pay arrangement?" asked Skywise co-chair Javed Malik.

Acsa suspended Skywise's flights on December 2 due to unpaid airport charges for landing, take off, parking of aircraft and related service charges.

At that time Skywise had already appealed to President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters, Acsa and South African Airways for assistance. It also sought investors.

Skywise brand ambassador Ndileka Mandela, a granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, also expressed the wish that the authorities would resolve the issue of the grounding of Skywise flights.

Source: Fin24

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