FlySafair: Returning South Africans to the Sky with a Bold Proposal


Creating more long weekends to encourage safe domestic travel



South African tourism had its wings clipped by the pandemic, with strict travel bans, concerns around catching COVID and financial woes knocking air travel off the agenda. The tourism sector typically brings in significant revenue and creates much-needed jobs for South Africans, making its revival critical to the country’s economic recovery. To revive domestic tourism and get people flying again, FlySafair took off as a solutions-focused leader, making the bold move to petition to change The Public Holidays Act and create more long weekends to incentivize travel.



WE and FlySafair used audience insight to craft a bold solution to revive domestic air travel. FlySafair’s own data revealed that South Africans are more likely to go on holiday over a long weekend, capitalizing on the free non-working day and making their holiday budgets and time off go further. There is a 5% increase in air travelers on long weekends and a 36% increase when airlines extend seat capacity.

FlySafair appealed to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) to support a proposal to change the Public Holidays Act and move the days-off that come with public holidays to border the weekends, creating more long weekends and reducing disruption to the working week. With the support of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa and the TBCSA, FlySafair compiled a proposal for parliament. WE then took on the challenge of clearly communicating the ambitious goal and its motivation to the South African public, to generate support and highlight FlySafair’s leading role in driving the country’s economic recovery.

A media FAQ accompanied a press release pitched to online and broadcast media with strong consumer and business audiences, clearly detailing the economic benefits of the proposal and how it will revive the tourism industry, benefitting the country as a whole. While focusing on economic recovery and a return to free travel, it was made clear that the health and safety of staff and passengers would remain a top priority.

Most importantly, it was emphasized that the sanctity of public holidays would not be lost and would still be recognized on the original date. Given South Africa’s uniquely tense history and the magnitude of the societal obstacles that the country has overcome, maintaining the reverence of the holidays was pivotal to gaining public support.



Since an actual change to the Public Holidays Act is no quick process, the primary goal of the campaign was to generate awareness and support for the proposal and position FlySafair as a revolutionary thinker that finds win-win solutions to countrywide issues. Neither government nor people would be disadvantaged by the proposed change in the Public Holidays Act, making this solution beneficial to all parties.

The message was landed successfully with 84 pieces of coverage secured (of which 39 were broadcast), in media such as 702, BusinessTech, eNCA and SAFM. When Tier 1 media ran polls to measure public sentiment, 79% of people voted in favor of FlySafair’s proposal. The campaign was well received on social media, too, with 3000 users following through and signing the petition.

South Africans are now waiting for the proposal to reach parliament. Watch this space!


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