A South African business mogul, Siza Petunia Mzimela, has made history by becoming the first black woman to own and start an airline there written her name in history book after she became the first black woman to launch her own airline Fly Blue Crane in September 2015.
According to reports, the Fly Blue Crane airline which currently has two 50-seat ERJ 145s aircraft, provides domestic flights from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to cities in South Africa, including Nelspruit, Bloemfontein, and Kimberly.
The business mogul told CNBC Africa that she hopes to open up routes that will help small communities grow their economies through launching Fly Blue Crane.
"It’s taken us a good 18 months to get to our first flight, which was on the first of September, but indeed, a lot of people just assume it happened overnight. I’ve always been passionate in using the airline to open the routes and actually grow the economies of the smaller towns."
She added that she plans to expand their flight destinations to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo so she can serve more communities. "The airline will aim to keep its current rates in order to make flying affordable for both business and leisure travel," she said.
Fueled by her desire to provide equal service to all people, she told CNBC Africa that her aircraft are 'all leather seats and everyone gets treated specially.' Adding that she earned the moniker 'Mama Africa' because she was passionate about opening up Africa to the world.
Siza Mzimela may have made history as the first black woman to own an airline, but she admitted the climb to the top has been difficult. "I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into meetings and people just assumed I was going to be the one taking notes," she said in her interview with CNBC.
Besides being the first female CEO of two major airline companies in South Africa, Siza Mzimela is also the first woman appointed to the International Air Transport Association’s Board of Directors in 67 years.
Mzimela has also hired the services of a emergency airambulance service, Flying Doctors Nigeria, owned by Nigerian-British medical doctor, Olamide Orekunrin to provide all health care services onboard.
Mzimela was also the first woman to become CEO of South African Express Airways and of South African Airlines. She is responsible for launching non-stop flights to other destinations such as New York and Beijing SAA.
Moreover, the entrepreneur founded Blue Crane Aviation, an African aviation service provider that assists airlines with legal, management, and consulting services. She also serves as a board member of the South African tourism Board and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls.