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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

British Airways South African Franchise Grounded

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After running out of money, the South African franchise holder of British Airways branded flights was obliged to suspend flights. Comair said in a statement that it had to halt all operations on May 31st “until the successful acquisition of new funds.”

Comair now owns and manages the Kulula brand in addition to British Airways flights.

“British Airways (operated by Comair) and kulula.com ticket sales have been suspended with immediate effect,” the airline said in a statement posted on the holding company website.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience this suspension will cause our customers. We did everything we could to avoid it,” commented chief executive Glenn Orsmond.

After the pandemic decimated its business and the airline’s resources ran dry, Comair initiated a procedure known as Business Rescue in May 2020. The airline reopened in December 2021 after a reorganization was overseen by so-called “business rescue practitioners.”

The airline did, however, temporarily halt operations in March 2022 after being grounded by South Africa’s aviation regulator due to safety concerns. Nearly a week later, operations were allowed to resume, causing significant disruption to flight travelers.

“Comair, the BRPs, and the lenders are working all out to get the funding in place so that we can resume our normal flight schedule as soon as possible,” Orsmond said on Tuesday night.

“Comair is inherently a viable business,” he continued. “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.”

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