Though new airlines in SA usually manage to take off, very few of them actually cruise, and most have a hard landing. FlySafair got off the ground quickly, turning a profit within two years of starting low-cost domestic flights. And the carrier grew passenger numbers 40% to 3-million last year despite a flagging economy. "We have been profitable for the last three years, and well profitable," CEO Elmar Conradie told Business Times. Weak economic growth is part of the business's expansion story - much in the way fashion shoppers trade down from emporiums and boutiques to the likes of Mr Price and Pep during a downturn. "When people start counting their cents they tend to favour low-cost [over] full-service airlines," said Conradie, who has been at the helm for four years. Though there are many moving parts in the market for domestic flights, Conradie said his airline did mop up some of the demand after financially distressed SAA cut back on capacity. Competitor Comair hauled 5.8-mill...

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