Up, up and away, but not for Comair – it’s just away

You might want to postpone that long weekend trip to the coast. 

Kulula.com and British Airways (BA) operator Comair were placed under provisional liquidation on Tuesday. The operator’s business rescue practitioners said last week that they couldn’t raise the money needed to save the airline. ✈️ Note: this version of BA is a franchise, separate to the flagship British Airways which flies between London and South Africa.

Us ordinary passengers are going to pay:  Comair operates about 40% of SA’s domestic air trips. 

Now tickets for a family of four going to Cape Town could cost up to R30 000! You’re better off planning a staycation or buying a small skedonk to drive there. 🤭

Comair isn’t the first low-cost carrier to uhm, crash and burn, in SA’s aviation industry. 

  • Remember 1Time? The low-cost airline operated between 2004 and 2012 and had a fleet of 11 planes. It went under and stopped all operations in November 2012, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. 
  • Velvet Sky, the only airline based in Durban operating out of a then newly built King Shaka International Airport, also shut its doors in 2012. (Terrible year for small airlines, 2012). 
  • Mango, a subsidiary of state-owned South African Airways was grounded in August 2021 but recently received funding, after dragging the government to court, to keep flying … for now. It owes R2.85 billion to creditors and also has about R183 million of unflown ticket liabilities. 
  • There was also SANTACO Airlines – that’s right: an airline by the South African National Taxi Council (insert giggle here). The taxi industry was taking to the skies and listen, we were ready for sho’t lefts in the skies and screeching halts in the middle of nowhere. But it was not meant to be. Turns out they had rented the plane for a single day. So much for “democratising air travel”. 🤭

If you were due to fly Kulula or British Airways, there are some measures available such as being accommodated on other airlines at no cost or being refunded.

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