The airline industry is diverse and so are the names of the carriers themselves.
Some refer to their country of origin, while others are more creative.
South Africa’s latest carrier has just been christened ‘Lift’ following extensive input from the country’s citizens.
Many months in the making
There is no denying the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had a huge financial impact on the airline industry. Dwindling passenger numbers have seen airlines paced into business rescue and their staff laid off.
It is a very challenging time to start a new airline. And yet, in South Africa, an established partnership is looking to do just that.
Simple Flying first reported in July 2020 that former Comair CEO and Kulula.com founder Gidon Novick was planning to launch a new South African low-cost carrier by the end of the year.
Alongside him are Global Aviation and former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache.
Novick invited the South African public to submit ideas for the carrier’s name and to encourage entries, the following prize for the winning name was up for grabs:
A year’s worth of flights on ‘airline X’ comprising 12 return flights for two (winner + partner).
Max value of R2000 (around $120) per person per flight.
Travel must be used within 12 months of winning.
Now a month later, the winning entry was announced – ‘Lift.’
Simple but effective, this name was chosen from over 25,000 entries. Eight South Africans submitted the same idea. In addition to a share of the prize, these individuals will also have their names inscribed on the airline’s first aircraft.
Business Tech reports that, according to Novick, “a decision was made to choose a name that was relevant to the category, unique, optimistic and of course easy to pronounce and remember.” As one might expect, there was a huge variety among the 25,000 suggestions.
Like Novick’s other airline venture, Kulula.com, Lift is planned to be a low-cost carrier. Given the struggles of the country’s flag carrier airline, this could prove to be exactly what the South African aviation industry needs.
Novick intends to launch Lift on the Cape Town (CPT) – Johannesburg (JNB) route.
This corridor is fiercely competitive and represented the world’s 11th busiest domestic route in 2019. The carrier is set to launch in December.
While it remains to be seen whether Lift will prove successful in gaining a share in the South African low-cost market, one has to admire the bravery of Novick and his partners for going ahead with the venture at such a difficult time for the airline industry.