Comair has announced that all British Airways and Kulula flights will be suspended from Wednesday 1 June until further notice as it tries to secure further funding.
Comair made the announcement on Tuesday night.
The airline said its Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) are trying to raise the necessary capital.
“Once received, the airline will be able to recommence operations, but regrettably under these circumstances, the practitioners have no choice but to voluntarily suspend all scheduled flights until the funding is confirmed.”
Comair CEO Glen Osman said ticket sales have also been suspended with immediate effect.
“Due to our liquidity position, we’ve been obliged to take this step. We deeply regret the inconvenience this suspension will cause our customers. We did everything we could to avoid it.”
Comair has advised customers not to travel to the airport unless they have alternative arrangements if their flights have been cancelled.
Kulula.com customers on suspended flights have the option of a Travel Bank credit or can request a full refund of their ticket value. The Travel Bank credit can be used by the passenger or someone else.
Affected customers can e-mail: MNContactCentre@comair.co.za.
Osman remains confident that Comair will secure funding, despite the circumstances.
“Comair is inherently a viable business. We have two of the best airline brands in the country. We are on track to carry over 4 million passengers this year and generate R5.3 billion in revenue.
“We have excellent staff, a modern fleet, good sales and distribution channels and low operating costs, which is why we believe the funding will be secured, ” said Osman.
British Airways customers “booking with confidence policy” will apply. Details can be found here. Customers may also contact the Contact Centre at BAContactCentre@comair.co.za.
Is this the last of Comair?
The embattled airline has faced a series of setbacks recently.
The SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) imposed a precautionary suspension of Comair’s Aircraft Operating Certificate (AOC) in March for five days after what it called “a series of incidents”, including issues with the landing gear indicator on one of the flights.
The suspension caused chaos as flights on other airlines were fully booked and if there were available seats, passengers had to fork out far more money than usual due to the demand.
The suspension came after a British Airways flight experienced technical problems with its landing gear.
The flight, which was travelling from Gqeberha to Cape Town, had trouble landing at an airport, resulting in a 15-minute delay.
In another incident in April, Comair confirmed that a British Airways plane heading from Johannesburg to Mauritius was forced to turn back mid-flight, after a ‘technical problem’.
The Comair Boeing 737-800 flight which had 152 passengers and 6 crew members on board departed Johannesburg when the problem forced the pilots to ground the plane about 85 minutes after departure.
Aviation safety in South Africa has been in the spotlight recently following a number of incidents related to aircraft maintenance.