Flight Africa Blog Interview with OneJetOne CEO,Arjun Ruzaik

Kenyans should wait until the second quarter of next year for the launch of OneJetOne airlines.That is somewhere between April-June,2011.The airline has been postponing its launch date in the last two years and there had been even rumours flying around that it would never launch at all.
OneJetOne CEO Arjun Ruzai
At the request of our readers,Flight Africa blog conducted a phone interview on Thursday,October 14,2010 with OneJetOne CEO Mr.Arjun Ruzaik on the progress of the airline.Read On and we welcome your comments on the interview.

When will OneJetOne launch flights in Kenya? Any specific dates?
We will launch in the second quarter on next year (2011).
What is holding you back?
Many  factors. The fact that this is a long  process; the level of investments that’s needed for our business model;  lack of type-rated  Kenyan pilots and engineers;  getting international investors to invest in a developing country; the list goes on & on
Former Transport Minister Chirau Ali is on record saying that the tendering process that culminated in you acquiring the old Embakasi Airport was flawed. Did you receive a notification letter from the Kenya Airports Authority for the cancellation of the tender?
That was his opinion. The former Minister is entitled to his opinion on this matter. As far as I know, the tendering process was open & transparent, and we did not receive any letter.
Thousands applied to work with OneJetOne. A local  daily claimed that you received over 17,000 applications for various posts at OneJetOne. Did you recruit any staff and what is their status now?
That’s correct & yes, we have recruited a skeleton staff for the moment.  We have also shortlisted some and we will recruit the balance commencing early next year.
You are planning to charge very low fares. Do you think such low fares would be viable on routes like JNB,LHR given that other LCCs have kept to domestic routes or regional hubs?
If you look at Air Asia Malaysia, it charges very low fares over long haul sectors and is doing extremely well. I think if you follow the right business model,  then you will definitely be successful.
Talking of Air Asia, what is the relationship between OneJetOne and AirAsia?
There is no relationship at all. I was involved in launching Air Asia Sri Lanka but the government of SriLanka blocked our certification process. I was the owner of Air Asia Sri Lanka.
 Is Tony Fernandes behind the launch of OneJetOne in Kenya?
Tony Fernandes owns AirAsia Malaysia  and Air Asia is not involved with OneJetOne in any way.
What’s your assessment of the LCC market in East Africa? Is the market ready for a new airline?
Absolutely. As long as you follow the right business model, you are  very well funded,…. The market is definitely ready
Any updates on aircraft leasing? Will you go for MD-87,Bombardier CRJs or Airbus?
If you look at our website, we have clearly indicated that we will be using Airbus A320 and A330.
What role has social media-Twitter,Facebook-played in communicating your progress and reassuring your staff and future customers?
I am a firm believer in social media. You’ll  see that I use Facebook a lot to update and network and very soon we will have a profile on Twitter too. Social media is a firm part of our marketing strategy and will form part of our marketing strategy in the future. It is also very cost effective.
A blog?
Yes, we will have a blog too ,at the right time.
With your proposed low fares, what frills will be there or are you planning on being the RyanAir of Africa?
You will have to pay for meals and drinks. So yes there will be frills but you pay for them separately. We are not planning to be the RyanAir of Africa BUT the OneJetOne of Kenya !
What is Arjun Ruzaik’s favorite pastime when he is not busy working on OneJetOne?
My pastime when am not working on OneJetOne?....... OneJetOne


So, what do you think about the interview? Let’s discuss in comments, and over on Twitter
Special Thanks to Mr.Arjun Ruzaik for accepting our interview  request.
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5 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Very bold and interesting comments by Mr. Ruzaik that are laced with naivety. What his aviation experience like? I have keenly followed the development of OneJetOne because of a personal interest in aviation but also as a consumer that will benefit with its entry. However, am getting disillussioned by the inordinate delays and shifting sands of reasons of delay.

    Am also of the opinion that OneJetOne are too idealistic and ill-prepared for the actions and reactions of the incumbents to its entry. We could end up with a Simon Makonde story of a very good but short-lived deal!

    Can he come back on and explain to us how he plans to deal with the actions/reactions of the incumbent airlines especially KQ? In other markets the following happened:

    1] A statistically significant drop in prices as soon as the incumbent learns of the threat of entry.We find that two-thirds of the total fare drop among the incumbents came from the threat of competition rather than actual head-to-head competition

    2] Predatory pricing.

    3] Enhanced Frequent Flier Programmes

    4] Increase in route frequency

    5] Media Campaigns- they have large war chest

    6] Other actions that make the market unfair.

    I am waiting!


  2. Anonymous Says:

    @ Anonymous - I have just read your comments above and feel naivety is on your part to bring up issues/questions which has nothing to with the delay. As Mr. Ruzaik has clearly said the delay has been due to many factors such as requirement of a huge investment, getting such investors in a developing country etc.

    I believe OneJetOne, despite all the challenges wil be seen in the Kenyan skies, flying high and pink!

    Well done Mr. Ruzaik!


  3. Anonymous Says:

    @Anonymous2,I also agree that the joke is on the first Anonymous.He started off as someone who knows a lot about airline startups but the 6 questions(that have nothing to do with the OneJetOne delay at all!) betrayed him.

    Bilha


  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks but both Bilha and Anonymous2 did not read the gist of my comments. I did not dwell on causes of delay of OneJetOne which is a noble idea and fantastic product. I needed answers on how Ruzaik and his team will overcome the above aspects and more.
    It is naive to think that KQ will do nothing. Watch this space! They will dump prices, increase frequencies, sponsor bad press, contest route designations etc etc

    Mr Ruzaik please address the issues i raised. And i will be happy to be on the first OneJetOne flight and subsequently a frequent flier.

    Anonymous 1!


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