Airlift pulls out of South Africa, smaller cities in Pakistan amidst global downturn

Company decides to layoff 31% of its workforce as part of business realignment

Quick commerce startup Airlift has announced closing down operations in South Africa as well as some cities in Pakistan as the global capital downturn ravages startups.

“In light of the significant downturn in global capital markets, Airlift is undertaking a strategic realignment to reduce the surface area of operations and to increase focus in key areas that drive sustainability and profitability. As a part of efforts to reduce the surface area, Airlift is pulling out of certain markets, including Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.” Airlift said in a statement.

“Additionally, the company is relocating 8-10 dark stores in our largest markets (Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad), which account for almost 90% of our revenue,” Airlift said in a statement. “The above efforts are a part of Airlift’s strategy to focus on building scale and profitability in markets with considerable scale and high order density,” the statement added. 

Additionally, Airlift is also reducing headcount by 31 per cent across all markets and limiting the number of categories on the platform. “The decision to part ways with talented teammates has been incredibly challenging for the company. For impacted teammates, Airlift stands committed to providing financial and placement support to help find new roles.” 

These decisions, Airlift said, are an important step toward Airlift’s long-term vision of enabling self-empowerment and leveraging technology to offer customer-centric solutions. “By reducing the breadth of our operations, Airlift seeks to achieve greater depth in key areas and deliver stronger value to customers in our largest markets,” Airlift said. 

Taimoor Hassan
Taimoor Hassan
The author is a staff member and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. In sialkot there’s a need of one store but they opened second it’s a small city. Sales ratio is very good in sialkot. If they open one store it will be beneficial for company. Is it possible they will open one store and continue their service in sialkot.

  2. Airlift is a gimmick , run by people with a business acumen of a child. What they have been good at, is riding a prevalent trend somewhere else, fooling people into giving them money and driving crazy valuation with absolutely no fundamentals. I really hope someone in the startup community stands up and atleast ask them to stop branding Pakistan with airlift. This can have very damaging consequences for the nascent startup ecosystem of Pakistan.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head!

      All these gullible startup funders are licking their wounds right now.

  3. Airlift thinks Peshawar is a small city ? You left the whole city ? Was the CEO wanted one night magic and step on the last stair to sky the next morning ? Very disappointed in This business. Anyway best of luck

    • That is so true I’ved work for them imagine you dayoff(evening) you get yourself ready for work the next day just to receive a message you must not come in the system apparently crashed,only for us as workers to find out the next day we dnt have work no more and pple is packing up the warehouse boooom we unemployed!!!!

  4. This is disheartening. I’ve heavily depended on Airlift for all my groceries. This is sad.

  5. I was a driver at Airlift but wat they did its unprofessional how could they shut down the Werehouses in all South Africa just like that Airlift must pay us out Money this is so sad 😔

    • You know one off my referrals still had a scheduled order for yesterday the took the mney and gone they are the lady haven’t received her goods or her money

    • as an insider , i can safely say people like atif awan are responsible for this.. atif was seed stage investor in the company. to increase the valuation of the company and particularly his shares,. he pressured to increase the unsustainable growth of the company and then lured many foreign investors to invest in airlift .. result is here.. bad for pakistan.

    • Entirely out of the blue unannounced pull back. Generally I have been profoundly impressed by their service but this admittedly speaks volumes in regards to their work ethic or lack there of. And here I’ve been staunchly convincing everyone to shift to purchasing from airlift in my setup. I wonder if I should just delete the app or wait for further at-whim last minute rock-paper-scissor decisions.

      • I suggest you delete the app because what are you gna do with it because they moving out of South Africa and if you check you can’t do anything on the app

  6. I’m with disappointed about this especially at the fact that I ordered and my order was cancelled due to a technical error it says then my order does not arrive and I don’t get my refund after paying. What type of fly by night company is this .I’m angry,disappionted about such a mess .How can a company leave like this what about my money. What a scam shame
    airlift my refund?? my order please??

  7. They can’t survive when there are big giants like pandamart there service and discounts are much better then airlift, in short Foodpanda is a complete ecosystem you get everything from groceries to food restaurants shops at one place.

  8. I totally gonna miss airlift. They safe me from driving to shops and standing in a long q.Just a pity they just left like that. And shame what about the people who worked there. Sad face.My last order was cancelled but they did refund my money.

  9. I won a competition app to get a Kruger Rand, received a certificate and was told I will definitely get the Kruger Rand shortly, kept following up but never received it. Ai I knew it was too good ro be true

  10. This is a shock as I only ordered from Airlift south africa.
    Monthly, weekly they were the best in delivering far better than our other companies like Pick n Pay, Checkers ect.
    Sad sad

    • This news is shocking for me. I am a regular client of this app. I totally miss this app. It’s really beneficial for hostelized like me. Specially for girls. and are you serious, you guys put Peshawar in small cities. Come on man..
      But anyhow best of luck, but plzzz try to start again in Peshawar

  11. You South Africans are acting as if you don’t know what is going on? You push foreigners out and expect them to leave their business and go. When they are gone with their business you are here trying to cry crocodile tears? You people are responsible for this and more companies are going to leave South Africa overnight like this. Dudula my ass💩

  12. Wat about my 400 reward money and 63 wallet rupees 😭
    I was so dependent on airlift for my groceries!!
    Peshawar is not a small city!

  13. At this point in time, a startup with seed funding and marketing like Airlift succumbing so poorly to global recession is just poor planning and management on their part. They couldn’t do justice to their original business idea of a ride sharing app which in my eyes was an absolute winner.
    In all of this, the ones affected most are those who took a leap of faith, gave interviews, landed jobs and were dominant in their markets before being laid off unfortunately. This will create an uncertainty for all of us to actually opt for startup ventures.

  14. Airlift has deducted R87 from my bank account right now. Saturday 28 may 2022 3 am I’m on my way to withdraw all my money right now. Same thing is going to happen to everyone, They got access because we gave them all the card details now they ve stolen money frm my fnb account

  15. Airlift how the hell do I get my refund of R900 I am staying in Kempton park. I bought groceries but was never delivered on the 24th May 2022

  16. Totally bummed out that they closed down like that in South Africa . I was the biggest Airlift supporter! It qas such a good concept. Oh well, they left,. Other companies will pick up where they left off

  17. No no no A big No !!!! Oh my No Airlift dont do this to ,You my lifesaver, Super convenient with same time delivery ,with half hour my Parcels reached me .Cape Town needs you !! I need you.And talk about price Affordable.

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