TUT graduate and “Air Taxi” boss THOKOZANI MIYA.
Victory has not been a walk in the park for the Founder and CEO of Neo Aviation, Thokozani Miya. His entrepreneurial journey was both a frustrating and victorious experience. According to him, his winning formula is a combination of passion and dedication.
Miya has been featured in numerous newspapers, television and radio shows, for all the right reasons. He is hailed countrywide as the inventor of what is popularly known the “Uber Air”, following his innovative concept in air travel.
At only 45, the TUT Computer Systems graduate is breaking new ground and redefining business air travel at less than half the cost. His private charter service provides instant air travel at more than 150 airports.
Miya explains what makes Neo Aviation stand out, is the cost-effective and time saving business model. “Neo Aviation basically sells you time and convenience because we customise trips according to clients’ requirements.” The company offers tailor-made air travel, a service similar to that offered by Uber, at only R18 per kilometre. This is less than 50% of the amount a private charter service would charge in South Africa.
Miya concedes that building a successful aviation company has had its fair share of mishaps. Although established in 2011, Neo Aviation only acquired its operating license in 2017. He travelled to Atlanta in the USA in 2012 to gain first-hand experience of the “air taxi” business. Getting his idea off the ground had initial challenges, especially with start-up capital, but he highlights that his passion for success and his persistence has finally turned his dream into reality. “I believed in this thing and I wanted to see it succeed,” he says smiling broadly.
Dealing with challenge
Miya is no stranger to challenge. For most of his life he has been juggling his time between his career and business prospects. After successfully completing his internship at Denel, the parastatal offered him several employment opportunities in network infrastructure and application development. He has also worked for ICT network service providers such as MTN and Telkom, to mention a few. Among his many other past business endeavours, was the establishment of a clothing brand, CyritT, based on his second name Cyril, as well as a food franchise. Although these businesses did not flourish long enough, Miya says the experience taught him how to deal with challenges.
His hey days as a student
As a young man, Miya enjoyed dressing up for Fresher’s Balls, often hosted at the Gencor Hall, Soshanguve South Campus. He also participated in a variety of sporting codes including rugby, volleyball and bodybuilding. His exceptional academic performance earned him a South African Breweries bursary, and subsequently an internship at Denel. He quickly points out that his experiences at TUT contributed immensely to his current achievements.
“The environment was very competitive and we dreamt big,” he adds. Prominent names such as showbiz star T-Bo Touch are among the students that attended TUT during the same era.
Miya draws his motivation from reading. Apple inventor Steve Jobs, Executive Director of the ABSA Group Peter Matlhare and ICT guru Stafford Massie, inspires him. He believes that, through positive reputation building, Alumni could play a progressive role in mentoring students and attracting investment for the university.
When he is not thinking of the next big idea, Miya enjoys cycling and mountain climbing. He also loves spending quality time with his daughter and two sons.