LIFT Airline book launch

Lift Airline surprises passengers with inflight book launch. Image : Lorne Philpot

‘Grounded’ for now: Lift Airlines halts all flights until August

South Africa’s new low-cost airline Lift has suspended all flights for almost the entire month of July.

LIFT Airline book launch

Lift Airline surprises passengers with inflight book launch. Image : Lorne Philpot

Lift Airlines which began operations just seven months ago, has announced that it has cancelled all flights for the period 5 to 31 July.  The budget airline operates daily flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Recently announced lockdown Level 4 measures imposed by government on 27 June ban leisure travel between Gauteng and all other provinces. This measure, designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the country hits the third wave of infections, is having a severe impact on the tourism, aviation and hospitality sectors in South Africa.

Lift ‘grounded’ from 4 July

According to IOL, Lift Airlines will continue flying until Sunday 4 July.

Lift CEO Jonathan Ayache said that more than 1 000 passengers have already changed or cancelled their Lift flights since the announcement.  The airline said all affected travellers will be provided with alternative flights.

Ayache said that the national lockdown had been extremely disruptive for South Africans and that the current restrictions caused a great deal of frustration.  He described the present situation a frustrating time for South Africans.

“People are choosing to stay at home for now. Understandably so. Our crew are also better off staying put until this wave recedes and the vaccination rollout reaches critical mass. We’re very lucky that LIFT’s agile, demand-driven business model allows us to scale up and down as things change. And change, they certainly do,” Ayache said.


Ayache said that his airline had been well received by the South African public and that he was pleased with feedback the airline was receiving from its passengers.

“In our first 7 months of operation, we operated over 1150 flights and transported more than 150 000 passengers with a 97% on-time performance rate and fantastic feedback on our service and the overall experience,” he said.


Ayache said that the airline will communicate new flight details to affected travellers via e-mail and SMS. He told IOL that passengers who would prefer to cancel their flights, will be able to use the credit for future flight bookings. 

Reservations are open for flights from 1 August.

“It’s a frustrating time for South Africans. For now, stay safe, and we can’t wait to be flying around our beautiful country again soon,” he added.