Ivor Ichikowitz, the arms tycoon, may be behind a new airline, Flyafrica, which is promising flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg for as little as 50 rand ($4.35). Those in the industry and consumers alike insist that this price is not sustainable, and there must be something fishy going on, according to Times Live. The ever -controversial Ichikowitz is founder of Paramount Group, which makes military equipment. It is the largest private defense and aerospace business on the continent, and has made more than $1 billion annually in sales. Insiders say Ichikowitz is backing the airline through Transafrica Capital.
There seems to be some involved (or not involved) who can’t seem to keep their stories straight. Flyafrica CEO Adrian Hamilton Manns told the press that Ichikowitz was not involved in the company, although someone at Business Times described the airline as “under our umbrella.” Ichikowitz said what that actually means is he helped raise funds for Hamilton Manns, and said he is looking into getting involved financially with the company. However, some airline insiders thinks he actually owns the company. When asked for more information, Flyafrica’s South African Director, Mike Bond, said “I can’t mention anything, thank you, ” and hung up.
Not exactly the friendly skies when it comes to business transparency.
Ichikowitz has been a staunch supporter of the ANC and has gotten involved with controversial leaders such as President Jacob Zuma and former Malawian President Joyce Banda, and the leaders $145 million contract for military vehicles and boats. When it was found Banda was using Ichikowitz’s private jet, Banda was ousted.