kulula.com announces new business venture

Jo'burg - 4 October 2007. kulula.com today launched two new babies; a first of its kind online Travel Portal and the newest addition to its new fleet of Boeing 737-400s - the 'jetsetter' plane.

kulula.com's Travel Portal will be an enhanced website for the airline offering a comprehensive, real time gateway to domestic and regional travel and tourism. This will enable travellers to source and book all aspects of their holidays and business trips through one website.

The Travel Portal will offer flights, car rental, hotel accommodation and travel packages. Further enhancements will include customer reviews, travel tips, community forums and community travel bloggs. Travellers will also be able to download information on holiday areas and leisure activities available in those regions.

The airline's joint CEO, Gidon Novick says, "Very few South Africans have had the opportunity to explore our beautiful country and the Travel Portal will bring this within reach in the kulula.com style of affordability, simplicity, and ease."

The airline has spent the last two years developing the Portal and has invested R4 million in the venture. Currently kulula.com generates over R1 billion in annual online sales making it Africa's biggest online retailer. The airline anticipates this figure to increase substantially with the new web site.

The 'jetsetter' plane which was specifically designed with a fun, holiday, leisurely motif and a 'pop art' style design was unveiled today. 'Jetsetter' is one of kulula.com's ten planned new aircraft purchased as part of an aggressive drive to replace all its old, fuel-guzzling MD82s by the end of this year.

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kulula.com travel portal facts

  • the Travel Portal is a comprehensive, real time travel planning and booking facility that will initially offer flights, car rentals, hotel accommodations and fully inclusive travel packages.
  • initially local and regional destinations will be offered with international destinations to follow.
  • currently www.kulula.com has over 600,000 unique visitors per month and generates over R1 billion in revenue. It is anticipated that these figures will increase significantly with the expanded offering.
  • the site will be enhanced to offer destination information, travel tips, forums for customer and travel bloggs.
  • specialized packages will be available including adventure trips, romantic getaways, sporting events and relaxing retreats.
  • kulula.com's current customers travel predominantly for leisure purposes (58%) but increasingly for business trips (42%).
  • pricing for travel offerings on the portal will be the best available in the market.
  • real-time api's (application program interfaces) have been created with 8 travel partners to allow for a wide range of products and services.
  • travel agents will have access to the kulula travel portal and will be able to book travel on the site on behalf of their customers.
  • over 1,000 accommodation options will be available on the site and will include luxury, budget and boutique hotels, B&Bs as well as guesthouses.

Travel and tourism facts

  • in 2006 domestic travellers generated a total of 37 million trips which accounted for 82% of tourist volumes, with a spend of R16.5bn.
  • of the 37 million trips holidays made up 4.5 million trips (12%), but constituted 32% of total domestic tourism spend
  • domestic spend is primarily on transport, food and accommodation
  • on average, domestic travellers take 2.5 trips per year
  • holidays have the highest average length-of-stay (4 nights, and have the highest incidence amongst younger adults (18 - 39 years), the same demographic whose incomes are rising the fastest!
  • hotel occupancy rates during the first quarter of 2007 increased to 50.5% meaning that there is still lots of capacity to fill.
  • domestic air travel numbers continue to show huge growth. The first half of 2007 has shown 18% growth on 2006 with market capacity growing by 17%.
  • on line travel is very advanced in Europe and the United States - on-line travel in the United States generated over $30 billion last year!

sources: South African Tourism, Airports Company of South Africa, Western Cape Tourism, Economist magazine.

'jetsetter' aircraft facts

  • it is a Boeing 737-400 which is 15% more fuel efficient than old MD82s and these Boeings are also more environmentally friendly.
  • kulula's entire fleet will be replaced within the next few months and will result in more seats and lower costs for the airline.
  • kulula's entire fleet will be replaced within the next few months and will result in more seats and lower costs for the airline.
  • the jetsetter plane will be used on all of kulula's 12 domestic routes and will also operate flights on our new Lanseria services.
  • it has 162 seats, has a take off speed of 150 knots (280kph) and cruises at 435 knots (820kph).
  • it took 6398 man hours and 35 days to complete the paint job on the plane.
  • 427 litres of paint were used, the same amount of paint could have painted 106 sedan cars!
  • paint thickness is 78 microns (which is thinner than this sheet of paper!). The paint needs to be extremely light to minimize the impact on the aircraft weight.
  • 39 kilometres of masking tape was used during the paint job.

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