After a series of neglect and disappointment of being denied work as a flight attendant, 48-Year-Old Sibongile Sambo launched her airline. The company is the first female-owned company in Africa.
Sibongile Sambo was born in 1974 in the town of Bushbuckridge, South Africa. She completed her tertiary education earning a Bachelor in Administration at the University of Zululand and proceeded to opt for a Flight Attendant job at the South African Airways airline. To Sambo’s disappointment, the company informed her that she did not match their minimum height requirement for a flight attendant position.
THE SRS AVIATION COMPANY
Sibongile Sambo is the founder and CEO of SRS (Sibongile Rejoice Sambo) Aviation. She founded the company in 2004 despite having any clue or knowledge of what transpires in the aviation industry. Unlike many people, Sibongile Sambo did not accumulate any formal debt or bank loan to finance her project. Her family was her anchor. She cling on to her mother and aunt to loan her the money she needed for the company to kickstart.
Sibongile Sambo entered into a collaboration with MCC Aviation, a fixed and rotor wing charter company based in South Africa, after successfully winning a contract for cargo transport provided by the South African government. She was stranded in obtaining an Air Operating Certificate from the South African Civil Aviation Authority and had to sell her car and cashed in her mother’s pension.
Even though it was a hard nut to crack, Sibongile Sambo was able to raise the stipulated funds! Now, Sambo’s business establishment has become a multi-million foundation. SRS aviation services include VIP charters, tourist transfers, medical evacuations, aerial photography, helicopter services, cargo charters, aerial photography and general air security services. Her customers pay from $1,000 USD to $200,000 USD per flight.
According to the company’s website, SRS aviation is also the African distributor of new and overhauled aircraft spare parts for the commercial, commuter, corporate, Military and Cargo Aerospace Industries.
Sibongile’s vision for SRS aviation is to be the go-to option for low-cost air service solutions for people and companies locally and globally by offering quality air service. In an interview with CNN, she said “I am where I am because someone made an investment in me. Now is my chance to make an investment in other people.” As a result, Sambo is very passionate about assisting young people by sharing her knowledge and experience to society.
Sibongile Sambo is the holder of multiple laurels. In 2006, she was a winner at the Black Woman in Business Awards (BIBA) in London. She was named a “Leader of Tomorrow” by Fortune Magazine and is a member of the Think Tank of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, which was founded by former French President Nicholas Sarkozy. In 2009, Sambo was nominated for the Queen Victoria Memorial Award by the European Business Assembly.