Rejected by Airline, Determined Woman Launches Her Own Flight Company

Black Woman Rejected by Airline Starts Her Own Airline, Breaking Barriers

Sibongile Sambo’s story is a testament to resilience and vision in the face of adversity. After being rejected by South African Airways for not meeting the height requirements for flight attendants, Sambo did not let this setback deter her ambitions. Instead, she transformed her disappointment into a drive to succeed on her own terms by entering the aviation industry as an entrepreneur.

She founded SRS Aviation, the first aviation company in Africa both owned and operated by a Black woman. Her journey began with the establishment of the company, and she swiftly moved to secure its growth by winning a crucial government contract for cargo transport. This early success was pivotal, but it required significant financial investment. To gather the necessary funds, Sambo sold her car and cashed out her mother’s pension, a testament to her dedication and belief in her business vision.

Partnering with MCC Aviation, a seasoned charter operator, she managed to obtain an Air Operating Certificate from the South African Civil Aviation Authority, a crucial step for any airline. These strategic moves laid the foundation for SRS Aviation to offer a wide range of services, including VIP and tourist charters, cargo transportation, and even specialized aerial activities like game counting and capture.

The pricing strategy of SRS Aviation is flexible, ranging from $1,000 to $200,000 USD per flight, allowing the company to cater to various customer needs, from individuals to large corporations. Sambo’s overarching vision for SRS Aviation is to become the leading provider of affordable and reliable air service solutions both locally and internationally, while maintaining the highest safety standards.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors, Sambo is committed to giving back to her community. She is passionate about mentoring young people and sharing her expertise, driven by gratitude for those who supported her own professional growth. Her approach is rooted in a belief in the power of community and investment in future generations, as reflected in her statement during an interview with CNN about the importance of passing on opportunities and knowledge to others.

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