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Mango airlines

Mango airline’s new ergonomically designed seats offer more passenger comfort

South African passengers choosing to fly with Mango airline on its domestic routes will be happy to hear about the new seat rollout plan. Mango airline’s new ergonomically designed seats offer more passenger comfort; and are environmentally friendly with saving about 820kg in aircraft weight, resulting in overall emission reductions of up to 1, 7 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

The airline’s seat replacement programme commences this August with two new generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft sporting the new seats. The new seats are ergonomically designed to offer increased legroom. Nico Bezuidenhout, CEO of Mango Airlines, was proud to point out that, “The new seats will increase leg room by between 6 and 7.5 centimetres, depending on where you are seated, delivering one of the best seating configurations in domestic economy class”.

The new ergonomically designed seats feature the latest in aviation technology. The slimmer seats make more efficient use of available space and allow the airline to still maintain a 186 guest load capacity. The efficiency in space utilization does not affect the number of passengers allowed on board. The only difference the new seat replacement programme brings, says Mango, is the level of added comfort for passengers with the increase in legroom.

The airline believes that the latest developments in its seat replacement programme together with the on board Wi-Fi facility and its on-time performance record and distribution accessibility will grant it a competitive edge in the local airline industry.

“The seats are also more light weight, with a saving in excess of 1.7 million tonnes in carbon emissions annually due to less fuel burn once the programme is completed,” adds Bezuidenhout. “The savings in fuel allows Mango to lower its cost base even further, making it possible to contain fare affordability even more.”

The airline will see its local flight capacity increase by over 30 weekly flights thanks to the addition of the two new 737-800 airplanes. The increase in flight schedules will be on routes between Johannesburg and Durban, Durban and Cape Town; and between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
A Durban base for Mango is in the pipeline and set to be implemented later this year will house permanently stationed aircraft. According to the airline this will promote a more improved schedule to and from the city.

The increase in flight frequency on existing routes furthers the growth of the airline with new domestic and regional routes being planned for the future. “We have applied for a schedule operation to two east-African destinations and presently in the final planning stages for a seventh domestic port.” says Bezuidhout. At present Mango runs charter flights to Zanzibar for AfricaStay, a tour operator.

South African Airways Airbus A320

SAA’s latest acquisition of two Airbus A320s pumps new lifeblood into its fleet

South African Airway’s initiative to turning around its financial woes began with it securing a contract with Standard Charter Bank to finance half of the airline’s order of 20 Airbus A320s. Two of the 10 A320 aircraft have already been delivered to SAA.

It is hoped that the fuel efficient A320 aircraft, destined for domestic and regional flight routes, will channel the South African airline back into profit making margins. SAA hopes to strengthen its expansion plans in Africa with the aim of being the carrier of choice on the continent.

This first step, in yet another turnaround strategy for SAA, was made possible after the airline secured finance from UK-based Standard Chartered Bank, an influential aviation finance company. The value of the contract between South Africa’s national carrier and Africa’s biggest airline and Standard Chartered Bank remains undisclosed.

Monwabisi Kalawe, recently appointed CEO of SAA said, “The deal will significantly enhance SAA’s domestic and regional growth strategy … the aircraft are central to SAA’s plans to provide an efficient and comprehensive regional route network.”

In addition to its domestic routes, SAA plans on introducing new aircraft on its long-haul routes which has been a major cash drain on the airline’s accounting sheets.

“Our long-term turnaround strategy has identified some big ticket items responsible for our high operating costs. These include high fuel costs as well as the use of fuel-inefficient aircraft. This deal provides the necessary solution by securing a new generation, fuel efficient fleet for us,” said Kalawe.

A melange of contributing factors has been the cause of SAA’s financial woes: exchange rate volatility, a fiercely competitive air travel market and rising fuel costs with fuel bearing the heaviest weight. The duration of most of SAA’s long-haul flights average above six-and-a-half hours. The longer the flight, the more fuel is needed. SAA’s fuel bill saw its operating costs increase by R 2.2bn which resulted in a loss of R 1.25bn in 2012.

“We are delighted to receive our first two A320 aircraft. Operating a modern and homogenous fleet plays a significant role in cost reduction and boosting revenue. The A320 will assist SAA to achieve this while providing our passengers with a more superior cabin product,” said Kalawe. The A 320 aircraft pumps new lifeblood into the airline’s fleet as it retires its aging fleet of Boeings.

The A 320 airplanes boast IAE-V2500 engines and is characterised by a two cabin arrangement which allows for the seating of 24 passengers in business class and 114 in economy.

John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer is equally confident that SAA’s has made the right choice in choosing A320 aircraft to help shed its loss-making reputation. “SAA has long been regarded as a bellwether for Africa on aircraft selection and we are looking forward to expanding our relationship. Our reliable, fuel efficient and comfortable A320s will give SAA a competitive edge and help the airline achieve sustainable profitability,” he said.

Picture Credit:Clement Alloing
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Travel with pets

Air travel’s latest loyalty programme for pet lovers

Members of the Velocity Frequent Flyer programme who opt to fly with their pets are to benefit from a new scheme introduced by Virgin Australia. In a movement towards catering for animal travel, a new loyalty programme, and the first of its kind in Australia, rewards pet lovers for taking their pets on holiday with them by offering bonus points to the air miles they already receive. Travellers who own pets are encouraged to take them along on holiday instead of leaving them back home.

CEO of Velocity Frequent Flyer Neil Thompson points out that Virgin Australia flies as many as 30 000 pets annually all across Australia. “A large proportion are owned by Velocity members, so we know how important their companions are to them,” he said.

A minimum of 300 points is awarded per pet carrier for each flight flown. Pet owners will receive points for a maximum of two pet carriers per booking. The loyalty programme for pet lovers will extend the current family benefits. “The program builds on the unique family benefits currently available to our members, such as the ability to pool Points and Status Credits with family members,” explains Mr Thompson.

The Velocity Frequent Flyer incentive to reward pet owners who fly with their pets is promoted by the launch of the ‘Velocity Pet Ambassador’ campaign in a nationwide search to appoint a pet ambassador for the loyalty scheme. The campaign kicked off on the Velocity Pet Ambassador Facebook page where pet owners are called to enrol their animals by sharing photographs of their furry four-legged loved ones. The winning dog or cat are to represent the loyalty programme in future marketing campaigns and will receive a special pack of pet-related products.

This latest pet loyalty programme introduced in Australia to encourage pet lovers to fly more and take their pets with them is not the first of its kind in the air travel industry. In 2005 Virgin Atlantic initiated its Flying Paws scheme. Each pet on board received their own welcome onboard pet pack. For canines there is a Virgin Atlantic t-shirt and a dog tag while felines receive a toy mouse and a collar tag. In addition each pets gets their own pet passport on which is recorded the flights taken and points earned. Points are redeemable for appropriate pet gifts such as dog bowls or bonus miles for their owners.

Celebrity vet and animal lover, Dr. Chris Brown, who assisted in the launch said: “It’s fantastic to see a frequent flyer program recognize how much pets enrich our lives. Now, not only will our dogs and cats give back to us in the form of unconditional love, but also in the form of our next holiday or retail purchase through Points!”.

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