South African carrier grounds flights after running out of funds

In May 2020, at the height of pandemic lockdowns, Comair filed for voluntary business rescue, similar to bankruptcy protection.

An aircraft from South African low cost airline Kulula taking off.
An aircraft from South African low-cost airline Kulula, owned by Comair, takes off from Cape Town International airport September 15, 2015 [File: Mike Hutchings/Reuters]

Comair, the South African operator of British Airways flights, has grounded all of its planes after running out of funds, the company said.

The carrier, which is under administration, also operates budget airline Kulula. Those planes are also grounded, with ticket sales for both airlines suspended.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Comair said its administrators “have advised that the process to raise the necessary capital is in progress and that there is reason to believe such funding may be secured.

“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,” it added.

In May 2020, at the height of pandemic lockdowns, Comair filed for voluntary business rescue – a procedure similar to bankruptcy protection – in order to restructure the company.

By February this year, the company, which operates a fleet of 26 Boeing jets, mainly 737-800s, had resumed most flights.

But South African aviation officials suspended Comair’s flights for five days in March over safety concerns, dealing a new blow to the company.

The latest suspension will reduce airline capacity in Africa’s most industrialised nation by 40% and could lead to higher prices for flights on the nation’s busiest route between the financial capital Johannesburg and touristy Cape Town.

Source: News Agencies