Faizel Patel
Senior Digital Journalist
2 minute read
8 Jun 2022
8:39 am

Comair in dire straits, just weeks away from liquidation – Numsa

Faizel Patel

The airline has only two options, and even more worrying, employees might not get their June salaries, or any of their other benefits.

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) members demonstrate, 3 June 2022, outside the Comair offices in Kempton Park, demanding the removal of Comair CEO Glenn Orsmond and the Business Rescue Practitioner Richard Ferguson, from Redford Capital, for failing to turn the airline around. Picture: Michel Bega

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has told workers that Comair is just weeks away from liquidation.

This comes after a stakeholder meeting with unions, Comair’s CEO Glenn Orsmond and the business rescue practitioner Richard Ferguson at the airline’s Kempton Park offices on Tuesday afternoon where the struggling airline’s fate was discussed.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola in a statement said Ferguson confirmed to those at the meeting that Comair’s financial situation is dire.

“He said the airline has only two options: to find an investor in the shortest time possible, or else it will be wound down.

“Even more worrying is that Ferguson was unable to guarantee whether employees will get their salaries for the month of June and this includes the payment of medical aid and other benefits.”

Hlubi-Majola said it is deeply concerned about the state of Comair and in particular for what this means for workers and their families.

“At least 1,200 jobs are on the line if this airline collapses. We maintain that this situation is caused by mismanagement at the highest level. Both Glenn Orsmond and Ferguson must take full responsibility for failing to turn the airline around.”

“The airline has been under business rescue for possibly the longest time in South African history but Richard Ferguson failed to implement a strategy to keep the business viable,” Hlubi-Majola said

ALSO READ: Comair suspends British Airways & Kulula flights until further notice

Numsa said it will be making an application to the Department of Employment and Labour for employees to be placed on the Training Lay-off Scheme.

“That way whilst the airline is not operating, workers can at least earn some kind of salary while training.

“At the same time, every effort must be made to find an investor for the airline in order to prevent liquidation.”

Last week Comair announced that all British Airways and Kulula flights would be suspended from 1 June until further notice as it tried to secure further funding.

The airline said its Business Rescue Practitioners (BRP) were trying to raise the necessary capital.

ALSO READ: Competition Commission meeting with other airlines over Comair grounding flights