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Fabulous reads: Get the lowdown on the SA airline industry

Book overview - Crash and Burn: A CEO's crazy adventure in the South African airline industry by Glenn Orsmond

Crash and Burn: A CEO’s crazy adventure in the South African airline industry, Glenn Orsmond, Jonathan Ball Publishers, ISBN: 9781776193226

You’ll never think of flying in South Africa in the same way again.

This is an insider’s tale of the South African airline industry over the past thirty years, as told by Glenn Orsmond, and, particularly, the story of the dramatic collapse of Comair in 2022.

Orsmond, who was twice the CEO of Comair and the founder CEO of 1time, takes the reader on a wild ride through the ultra-competitive sector of low-cost airlines that boomed in this country after South African Airways’ stranglehold on the skies was loosened in the 1990s.

“Fasten your seat belts for a fly-on-the-wall account of the turbulence that shook South Africa’s low-cost aviation industry to the core. A fast-paced and gripping read.” – Gus Silber

Comair – which used to operate both Kulula and British Airways – and 1time – were at the forefront of this new wave of airlines that saw domestic flying and tourism take off. But after some incredible highs and lows, Comair crashed under Orsmond’s watch, despite the company’s 75-year unblemished profit history.

The pandemic’s impact, the grounding of aeroplanes after a questionable regulator investigation and poor management decisions all contributed to its downfall.

You can expect tales of industry legends and innovation but also of competitors trying to gut each other, battles between pilots and accountants, unions and bosses at loggerheads, and warfare between shareholders and directors in boardrooms.

Author, Glenn Orsmond. PHOTO: Submitted


Glenn Orsmond was a co-founder of 1time and did three stints at Comair – twice as CEO – in an airline career spanning more than 30 years.

He is not sure accountants have adventures but believes the airline industry was a more exciting choice of career than auditing.


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