TIMELINE: The rise and fall of Comair

The rise and fall of Comair..  Comair, which runs Kulula and British Airways flights, has grounded its flights from Wednesday.

In a tweet issued on Tuesday night, the flight operator said it simply could not afford to fly.
The rise and fall of Comair

Comair regrets to advise its flights have been voluntarily suspended from 1 Jun pending securing funding to resume operations,” the company said.

In a statement the airline said: “The company’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs) have advised the process to raise the necessary capital is in progress and t 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.”

23 March 2022

The SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said it had barred Lufthansa Technik from servicing aircraft until further notice.


Lufthansa was one of two aircraft maintenance organisations (AMOs) used by Comair, which has suffered a spate of in-flight technical problems.

Good news for the thousands whose Kulula flights were cancelled during the airline’s recent five-day grounding — Comair has decided it will issue refunds.

However, while British Airways ticket-holders were told they could apply for a refund on their cancelled flights — and expect to get their money back within six to eight weeks, “or longer” — Kulula customers were told their only recourse was a credit valid for only six months.

20 March 2022

Just days after the lifting of a suspension of Comair-operated flights, a British Airways flight from Gqeberha to Cape Town experienced technical problems with its landing gear.

Comair spokesperson Stephen Forbes confirmed there was an issue with the landing gear on flight BA6324 during final approach on Saturday.

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Comair operates and British Airways flights in SA.

17 March 2022Comair’s announcement that its Kulula and British Airways planes were to take to the skies again from early Thursday morning has been met with relief by some but irritation by those who’ve bought alternative tickets on other airlines, at great cost.

The SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) withdrew Comair’s operating licence on Saturday due to concerns about its safety management systems in the wake of three “significant” failures on recent flights.

On Wednesday evening, the CAA lifted the suspension, saying the audit and assessment of Comair’s submissions after the suspension of the company’s operating licence at the weekend had been completed.

A small group of National Union of Metal Workers of SA (Numsa) members gathered at the Comair offices in Kempton Park on March 15 2022.

The union is demanded that CEO Glenn Orsmond resign after the SA Civil Aviation Authority suspended Comair’s air certificate due to recent safety issues on flights.

Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she hopes the issues between Comair and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) can be resolved soon.

Sisulu also raised concern at the increase in airfares on domestic routes after the Sacaa announcement.


“I would like the issues between Comair and Sacaa to be resolved soon, as the tourism industry cannot afford any further discouragements,” Sisulu said.

March 2022

As ComAir was grounded indefinitely after safety concerns raised by an airline regulator, stranded passengers were dealt another blow as flight prices skyrocketed.

Flights leaving OR Tambo International Airport for Durban and Cape Town went from a reasonable R900 and peaked at R3,000 as demand increased.

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The SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) grounded Comair’s Kulula and British Airways flights after a series of midair emergencies.

The regulator said Comair had to prove its planes were safe or risk being grounded indefinitely.

“This decision was reached after an investigation into the recent spate of safety incidents at the operator,” it said in a statement.

“This is a precautionary suspension for a period of 24 hours, within which the operator must demonstrate to the regulator that the risk and safety management systems are effective in managing potential hazards.”

July 2021

Comair, operator of no-frills airline Kulula as well as British Airways’ domestic franchise, will keep its planes on the ground until the end of August as passengers stay home in the wake of SA’s pandemic regulations.

The company had already temporarily suspended operations on July 5 in the wake of level 4 restrictions which prohibited all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng, along with little demand for business travel and international travel bans also reducing demand.

Comair had intended restarting flights on July 30, but the continuing uncertainty about when level 4 restrictions will be lifted, along with the increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 “Delta” variant, the company decided to push the date out to the spring.

July 2021

Comair, operators for Kulula and British Airways temporarily suspended all flights in SA for three weeks.

The operator said Kulula customers who had a valid ticket booked until July 29 would be able use their ticket within 12 months from first date of travel without any penalty.

The airline operator said flights were suspended after the adjusted level 4 lockdown and prohibition on all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng.

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 October 2020

Competition Tribunal  approved a rescue deal for struggling airline Comair on condition that the carrier freezes job cuts for three years and investors allocate shares to a special purpose black empowerment vehicle.

Comair, which operates the British Airways franchise in South Africa and budget airline, was forced into a form of bankruptcy protection in May after South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown halted its operations two months earlier.

September 2020

Comair announced on Friday it is cutting about 400 jobs as the airline tries to turn its fortunes around.

It said in a statement the company has adopted a business rescue plan.

“In terms of the business rescue plan the preferred investment consortium, comprising a number of former Comair board members and executives, will invest fresh equity of R500m in return for a 99% shareholding once the suspensive conditions set out in the business rescue plan have been met. Up to 15% of this will be allocated to a suitable BBBEEE partner within 12 months,” the airline said.

CEO Wrenelle Stander welcomed the adoption of the business rescue plan.

“When the lockdown happened, business rescue became the only responsible course of action. Had we not made that tough decision Comair would not have flown again. There may still be a few bumps on the way ahead, however now that the plan is adopted, at last clearer skies are now in sight,” Stander said.

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