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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Meet the Rejected Flight Attendant Turned Entrepreneur Who Decided to Start Her Own Airline!

Sibongile Sambo, founder of SRS Aviation
Sibongile Sambo, who is from South Africa, once applied for a job as a flight attendant but was told by South African Airways that she did not qualify for the position because she was too short. She was initially discouraged, but then decided to do the unthinkable. She started her very own airline!

Her airline, founded in 2004, is called SRS Aviation and is the only Black woman-owned and operated aviation company on the entire continent of Africa.

Getting her company off the ground

As can be imagined, starting an airline is not easy or cheap. To create capital, Sibongile had to sell her car and cash out her mother’s pension. It was risky, but it worked!

Not only was she able to obtain an Air Operating Certificate from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), she was also able to raise the needed capital to buy aircraft.

Soon after, she started bidding for contracts and eventually won a major government contract for cargo transport. She even formed a partnership with another South African-based fixed & rotor wing charter operator.

A different revenue model

Sibongile's idea was not to compete with commercial airlines. Instead, she created an aviation company that offers luxury and personalized flight options to destinations in Africa and around the world.

Her company's services include VIP charters, tourist charters, cargo charters, helicopter services, and more. Her customers pay anywhere from $1,000 USD to $200,000 USD per flight.

Her ultimate goal is to uphold the highest safety standards, and become the preferred choice in affordable air service solutions for individuals and businesses, both locally and globally.

For more details about her company, visit

Watch her interview below:

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