Kulula and British Airways close doors for good

Comair is now grounded for good after business rescue practitioners said they no longer believed there is a reasonable prospect that the aviation company could be rescued.

In a notice published on Thursday, the business rescue practitioners said Comair could not raise the necessary funding to continue with operations. The deadline they had set for the owners, the Comair Rescue Consortium, to raise the necessary funding and come up with a practical plan for continued operations was 31 May. 

The funding needed was “to settle all financial obligations as they fall due in the ordinary course of business” and to negotiate with lenders about arrears.

The Comair Rescue Consortium failed to raise the funds. The amount needed has not been stated. 

Comair entered into voluntary business rescue proceedings on 5 May 2020 “to safeguard the company and its stakeholders”.

At the time, the company said the business rescue proceedings were to ensure a focused restructuring of the company as quickly as possible so that it could take to the skies again as a sustainable business. 

On 31 May, the company announced it had grounded all its British Airways and kulula.com flights with immediate effect. 

The airline has asked competitors to assist with rebooking for customers affected by the grounding. Airlink has allowed Kulula and British Airways customers to rebook their flights with it at no additional cost while SAA has said it will add more seats on certain routes to accommodate some of Comair’s customers. 

Comair accounts for roughly 40% of South Africa’s domestic seat capacity. 

Anathi Madubela is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the M&G.

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