Comair to resume flights in December, six months after it was placed on business rescue, Newsline

CAPE TOWN – Comair will return to the skies again six months after it was placed on business rescue process.

The operator of British Airways in South Africa today began taking new bookings for low-cost carrier kulula.com ahead of its planned take off again on 1 December.

It said that the reintroduction of kulula flights on the domestic network was the first phase of Comair’s ramp up to full operations over the next few months.

Comair will be operating all kulula.com domestic routes, with the exception of the Durban/Cape Town and Lanseria routes, which will be added as more aircraft become available.

British Airways domestic and regional flights will reopen soon as will kulula flights from Lanseria.

Rescue consortium representative Glenn Orsmond said Comair will initially operate a fleet of 15 aircraft across both airline brands gradually increasing as the remainder of the fleet returns to service over the next few months.

Orsmond said that customers who booked tickets before Comair was placed on business rescue will be able to utilise the value of their tickets through the Comair Travel Bank for future travel on Comair from mid-January onwards.

“This is an important moment for Comair, for all the employees who have been so patient and supportive through the business rescue process, for our customers, the flying public and the country,” Orsmond said.

“A strong, competitive airline sector benefits everyone and we’re looking forward to welcoming our first customers on board and gradually restoring our schedule and network.”

Last month, the Competition Commission approved with conditions SA Bidco’s proposed merger with Comair as necessary for the airline to proceed.

The conditions include a commitment to allocate a portion of Comair’s shares to a B-BBEE structure and employment offers to 200 retrenched staff when jobs become available at the new airline post-merger.

SA BidCo is a new South African entity with no commercial operations and that has never traded before.

Comair has been developing a rescue plan focused on reducing operating costs and growing ancillary revenue.

The airline’s investors have also secured the required credit approval from various commercial lenders for new debt funding and the deferral of repayments on existing debt. Comair in August approached lenders for additional funding of more than R1 billion required for it to fly again following a successful adoption of the rescue plan.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE