In conversation with Jonathan Ayache, CEO of Lift

Simple Flying is delighted to invite you to join us for our next Future Flying webinar. Next Tuesday at 11:00 am in London, we’ll sit down with the founder and CEO of a rather interesting airline. Lift has become the newest entrant into the South African domestic market, focused on removing the pain points of travel and putting the customer first. Jonathan Ayache will join our Editor-in-Chief Joanna Bailey in a conversation as we step into the shoes of the airline that wants to do things differently.

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Pandemic startups

If there was one pandemic trend we didn’t expect in aviation, it’s the sheer number of startups we’ve seen. On every continent, new airlines have sprung up following one of the worst crises the industry has ever seen, capitalizing on falling aircraft leasing rates, talent availability and market gaps. market left behind by struggling airlines.

One such airline was Lift – a South African carrier founded in December 2020. A joint venture between the former CEO of Kulula and an Uber executive, the airline set out to enter the South African domestic market , but with a rather different strategy.

Founders Gidon Novick and Jonathan Ayache had a vision for something better than the average airline service. Photo: Getty Images

Many pandemic startups have focused on unserved and underserved routes, finding their own niche in networks. But for Lift, its business plan was to operate on one of the busiest routes in the world – Cape Town to Johannesburg. Before the pandemic, nearly five million passengers a year used this route, then served by five or more airlines at any given time. So how did Lift plan to secure its share of the traffic?

A new approach

The airline’s success is due to its founders’ fresh approach to the passenger experience. Lift offers competitive rates, but offers an all-inclusive ticket. There are no additional charges for baggage or seat selection, and everyone gets onboard food and drink included. Attention to detail is key, from serving great coffee to the promise to eliminate change fees on all tickets. Passengers can also expect to be surprised and delighted on their journey, with silent discos and impromptu bingo games happening regularly on this airline.

Bingo at 30,000 feet? Why not! Photo: Elevator

While Lift has survived many challenges in its first 18 months – pandemic variants, soaring jet fuel prices, fuel shortages at its home airport – it continues to win accolades from its customers. Now it’s aiming for expansion, with a new route launching before the end of this month, and more planes to come for South Africa’s peak summer season.

We are excited to hear more about the future of this exciting airline and its unique selling points. Join us for a chat with Jonathan Ayache, Founder and CEO of Lift, next Tuesday, October 11 at 11:00 a.m. in London. The session is streamed live on YouTube and everyone is welcome. Click the bell to be notified when we’re about to start!