SA Express Airways

Fly SAX turns to venture capitalists for assistance in funding a take over. Image via Pixabay

Behind the scenes: Bringing SA Express back from the brink

SA Express Airways may make a surprise return to the country’s airspace if enhanced efforts to obtain funding succeed.

SA Express Airways

Fly SAX turns to venture capitalists for assistance in funding a take over. Image via Pixabay

SA Express Airways is a state-owned airline that operated under national carrier South African Airways until it hit hard times and was placed into business rescue last February. The rescue process failed, leading to several job losses as the beleaguered airline was placed into provisional liquidation in April last year.

SA Express operated scheduled flights to regional centres in southern Africa. It also acted as a feeder airline for South African Airways, which carried passengers beyond the country’s borders.


Fly SAX, a consortium of SA Express’ former employees, won a bid to buy the embattled airline which they worked for. Being chosen as the preferred bidder to buy the airline was just the start.

Coming up with the money to get the airline back into the air has been the next obstacle for the bidders.  Fly SAX has been trying to obtain funding via a crowdsourcing platform, but with little success.


In November last year, Fly SAX turned to venture capitalists to assist in securing investments based on a more targeted crowdfunding approach.

Executive chair of venture capitalist firm Global Impact Investments, Chris Hart, is leading fundraising efforts in an attempt to resuscitate the airline.

“This is a very high impact project, both on a micro and macroeconomic level, with enormous potential multipliers – especially for outlying areas in SA to be connected and integrated to regional economies,” says Hart.


Hart will be assisting Fly SAX to try and take over SA Express and make it commercially viable. According to News24, the return date for a liquidation application has been extended to 4 July this year, providing more time for funding to be secured.

“All members of the rescue team are confident that if it can be efficiently, safely, and ethically run, this vital element of SA’s transport infrastructure can be saved – and it will fly again,” Hart said.


Hart says that the process is entirely private sector driven and without any government involvement. News 24 reports that the airline intends to be a niche player that complements existing route networks in the country, as a feeder airline.  

“We are looking at a comprehensive approach from both a passenger and cargo point of view and do not intend to compete on already well-serviced routes like that between Johannesburg and Cape Town,” Hart said.

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