PORT Elizabeth gynaecologist Dr Marcus van Heerden will tomorrow launch a new airline, Blue Crane Air, to fly between the city and East London. Also a businessman, Van Heerden said the idea behind Blue Crane Air came when he noticed the need for an easy and efficient way for business people to travel between the two cities "without the hustle and bustle of busy airports and long, tedious check-in queues".
"The idea was born while discussing with colleagues the woes of travelling by vehicle between the two cities. The airline will be a simple and more cost-effective way for companies to send representatives between cities," he said.
The aircraft to be used is a six- seater, twin-engined plane equipped for a comfortable journey.
Van Heerden said from their arrival at the airline's hub in Walmer, travellers would feel "like VIPs". They would be welcomed with coffee and a muffin before being chauffeured to the airport and taken right to the door of the aircraft.
Van Heerden said that from there, clients would board the plane with their hand luggage, "so the risk of theft or loss of personal goods is now a thing of the past".
For the time being, the airline would make daily weekday flights from Port Elizabeth to the East London airport in the morning, returning in the evening after close of business.
"This means business people will no longer have to travel by car after a long day of meetings." It also did away with the need for overnighting at expensive hotels, "maximising the business person's time and money".
There were plans to expand to fly twice a day between the two cities, allowing more options for travel in the future, he said.
The official launch will take place tomorrow at 13 Fifth Avenue, Walmer.