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Johannesburg, 1 April 2007: kulula.com has announced a bold plan to take on the Gautrain with the planned launch of a shuttle flight service between Pretoria, Sandton and ORTambo International Airport.
The flight duration between the three points will be only six minutes and flights using 100 seater jets will depart every fifteen minutes. The airline plans to undercut Gautrain rates by between 30-40%. "All the hype around the Gautrain really got us thinking and we've come up with a plan to do it quicker and cheaper" says kulula's joint CEO Gidon Novick.
The launch date for the venture is planned for the last quarter of 2008, however one major obstacle to overcome is the completion of a runway facility in the Sandton area. An Environmental Impact Study(EIS) and feasibility exercise has been done on constructing a runway in Innesfree Park in Sandton which is a very large area conveniently situated near the Grayston off ramp of the M1 highway. According to Novick "We're looking at in investment of less than R1Billion for the facility, considerably less than the R20 Billion earmarked for the Gautrain". Waterkloof Air Force Base to the east of Pretoria will be used as the Pretoria hub.
kulula promises to make the experience quick and easy with short check in times, ample parking facilities, free seating and no checked baggage. Refreshments will be on sale prior to departure and additional perks for travellers will include cell phone usage on board and wifi internet access.
The public will be called upon to suggest names for the new service. Some suggestions so far include "Gauplane", "Op-en-af" and "The no gravy plane".