SkyWise (Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) has brought forward its launch of scheduled flights from March 16 to March 5 citing stronger than expected demand. The LCC start-up commenced operations on February 11 with a charter flight between Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and Cape Town International catering to local school kids.

As with rival FlySafair (FA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) which launched in October last year, SkyWise will offer multiple daily flights between South Africa's two largest cities using a fleet of B737-300s. Once domestic operations have settled, the airline then plans to start regional services.

In addition to FlySafair and other established operators Mango Airlines (MNO, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) and Kulula Air (Johannesburg O.R. Tambo), additional competition is expected to come from other budget start-ups such as South Africa flyafrica (Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) and possibly Fastjet's shelved South African operation, Fastjet South Africa (Johannesburg O.R. Tambo).

Founded by former 1time airline executives Rodney James, Glenn Orsmond, Michael Kaminski, Johan Borstlap and Wayne Duvenage, SkyWise had struggled to get off the drawing board until it was acquired by PAK Africa Aviation, the Dubai/Pakistani-backed firm that acquired a 62% stake in Global Aviation Operations subsidiary, Global Airways, last year.

PAK has itself attracted some controversy after South African paper, the Times, revealed that its chairman is Yusuf Saloojee, the former South African ambassador to Iran who was at the centre of an Iranian cellphone contract bribery scandal in 2012.