Comair flights cancelled, now in liquidation

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Deanw
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Re: BA & Kulula flights canceled.

Unread post by Deanw »

9 June 2022: News24
Comair to be liquidated

Comair's business rescue practitioners have lodged a court application on Thursday to convert the business rescue proceedings into liquidation proceedings.

This is because the company could not raise the necessary funding to continue with operations.

In a notice, published on Thursday, the BRPs advised creditors that they no longer believe there is a reasonable prospect that the company can be rescued.

The BRPs tasked the Comair Rescue Consortium (CRC), the current owner, to come up with a practical plan for continued operations by 31 May this year.

This included raising additional funding "to settle all financial obligations as they fall due in the ordinary course of business" and to negotiate with lenders about arrears amounts.

When this did not happen, the BRPs suspended all Comair's kulula.com and British Airways (operated by Comair) flights on 1 June.

Comair, which has been flying planes in South Africa since 1946, has been in business rescue for the past two years. The CRC invested R500 million for a 99% share of the equity in the company at the time.

It landed in business rescue after it couldn't repay billions in debt.

While the pandemic decimated its business, its debt burden has been growing for years, partly as a result of a disastrous order of Boeing 737 Max planes.

It paid $45 million in deposits for eight of the planes. It already had one delivered when a worldwide grounding of the planes was declared between March 2019 and December 2020 following two fatal crashes. Comair's legal battle in a US court to cancel the purchase agreement of the 737 Max planes from US manufacturer Boeing is still ongoing.

A more recent setback was a five-day suspension of Comair's flights by regulator the SA Civil Aviation Authority in March after what it called "a series of incidents", including issues with the landing gear indicator on one of the flights.

Sky-high fuel prices have also added to the airline's cash crunch.

One of the BRPs, Richard Ferguson, explained in a statement on Thursday that, with its two airline brands - British Airways (operated by Comair) and kulula.com - market share, modern aircraft fleet, experienced employees, sales and distributions channels, Comair was an inherently viable business.

"It is an extremely sad day for the company, its employees, its customers and South African aviation," says Ferguson.

According to Jannem Goussard, organiser of the union Solidarity, they have been informed that an application for provisional liquidation of Comair has already been made and will be heard as an urgent matter on Tuesday 14 June.

"The company has heard the Solidarity's plea to sort out the medical aid, and the best they could do was pay June fees. Employees will have to pay for medical aid from 1 July," says Goussard. "Solidarity is devastated by this news. We will do everything possible to support our members and keep them informed of the process going forward. The loss of Comair is an indictment on the state of the SA economy and needs urgent attention."

Employees and customers who held bookings or were owed refunds will now become creditors of the company.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Airplaneguy9 »

Reminds me a lot of when 1time went down almost a decade ago.

Very, very sad day for South African aviation. I will miss seeing the BA colors, as well as the quirky green planes of kulula. :cry:

Edit: Oh, and Mango/SA Express as well. That leaves just two low-cost airlines in the country.
Last edited by Airplaneguy9 on Thu Jun 09, 2022 5:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Segg »

Most definitely the end of an era. :(

My condolences to all the Comair employees affected by this. It's tragic that this great company is now gone.

Hopefully the market forces at work can absorb the excess staff of the industry in due time.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Deanw »

Airplaneguy9 wrote: Thu Jun 09, 2022 1:34 pm Edit: Oh, and Mango as well. That leaves just one low-cost airline in the country.
Still FlySafair and Lift.

Other options are Airlink, Cemair and SAA.

Sad indeed. :(

Wishing all the employees well.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Ugly Duckling »

Green and white/blue tails moving to Denel for storage
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by ACE MAN »

I enjoyed them with the 3 or 4 F27s , the dak and later the F28 in the days of John Vd Berg. In the mid to late 90’s they were 30 to 50yrs old always profitable and the only profitable airline in Africa at the time. Then Came the 73s and what an airline👍 pity the way leadership changed and I almost feel Cadre placement - they still move about in other circles leaving a mess in their wake. Strongs to my hard working super competent buds that did the hard yards at the sharp end.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by alpha-mike-tango »

:cry: indeed an end of an era. Always admired Comair and how it not only survived in a harsh local environment with a heavily protected SAA, but remained profitable ... until now.

Strongs to the aircrews and groundcrews who made it a great airline.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by GLF4 »

Yet the fruity airline and Send another aircraft haven't been wound up due to protectionism from the state.

Definitely not a level playing field...
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by ASW20 »

GLF4 wrote: Thu Jun 09, 2022 6:29 pm Yet the fruity airline and Send another aircraft haven't been wound up due to protectionism from the state.

Definitely not a level playing field...
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article ... -lifeline/
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by NKruger »

Just so sad. Hard to imagine the South African skies without the green and red-blue birds.

There was a time - not too long ago - when Kulula was the carrier to use. That catchy "Kulullllllllhhhaaaaaaaaa dotttt commmmmm" phrase would ring over the airwaves and okes would joke around braai-fires about the quirky Kulula safety demos. Achieving your Vitality Diamond status in order to get that coveted 35% discount on Kulula flights was a thing and everyone was in awe when their new hi-tech 737's arrived. These guys invented a totally new, fun approach to commercial flying which made people WANT to use them (I remember this one time, after a pretty darn hard landing at ORT, the senior cabin crew announced "ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated while the Captain taxi what is left of this aircraft to the parking bay". Such a great moment of humor).

It is just incomprehensible how a company that got it so right, ultimately got it so wrong. Or, I suppose it is not all that incomprehensible.

Many many strongs to employees and families affected by this.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Millibar »

Can someone in the know please give an objective unemotional answer as to why this once great airline is now being liquidated?

What went wrong and when did Comair as the industry leader become doomed?

Surely it can't be blamed on Covid? Look at Safair and Cemair.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by apollo11 »

Millibar wrote: Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:27 am Can someone in the know please give an objective unemotional answer as to why this once great airline is now being liquidated?

What went wrong and when did Comair as the industry leader become doomed?

Surely it can't be blamed on Covid? Look at Safair and Cemair.
I would like to hear the answer too, rumblings of over capitalization on new aircraft orders, over zealous cost cutting mixed with being on the ground dormant for too long and of course huge fuel hikes - that is what I've read but is that all true? It's obvious when an airline sits on the ground as long as Comair did that is already the start of a slippery slope.

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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Mouser »

alpha-mike-tango wrote: Thu Jun 09, 2022 5:30 pm :cry: indeed an end of an era. Always admired Comair and how it not only survived in a harsh local environment with a heavily protected SAA, but remained profitable ... until now.

Strongs to the aircrews and groundcrews who made it a great airline.
Not everyone is that sad over Comair's demise it seems

https://www.biznews.com/undictated/2022 ... r-collapse
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Volo »

apollo11 wrote: Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:37 am
Millibar wrote: Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:27 am Can someone in the know please give an objective unemotional answer as to why this once great airline is now being liquidated?

What went wrong and when did Comair as the industry leader become doomed?

Surely it can't be blamed on Covid? Look at Safair and Cemair.
I would like to hear the answer too, rumblings of over capitalization on new aircraft orders, over zealous cost cutting mixed with being on the ground dormant for too long and of course huge fuel hikes - that is what I've read but is that all true? It's obvious when an airline sits on the ground as long as Comair did that is already the start of a slippery slope.

No fly no make money, but is there a lot more to it?
...........
Read Deanw s comments on this thread of 9 june - will give you pretty good idea of what went wrong at commair.
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Re: Comair flights cancelled, now to be placed in liquidation

Unread post by Millibar »

Volo wrote: Fri Jun 10, 2022 1:24 pm
apollo11 wrote: Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:37 am
Millibar wrote: Fri Jun 10, 2022 11:27 am Can someone in the know please give an objective unemotional answer as to why this once great airline is now being liquidated?

What went wrong and when did Comair as the industry leader become doomed?

Surely it can't be blamed on Covid? Look at Safair and Cemair.
I would like to hear the answer too, rumblings of over capitalization on new aircraft orders, over zealous cost cutting mixed with being on the ground dormant for too long and of course huge fuel hikes - that is what I've read but is that all true? It's obvious when an airline sits on the ground as long as Comair did that is already the start of a slippery slope.

No fly no make money, but is there a lot more to it?
...........
Read Deanw s comments on this thread of 9 june - will give you pretty good idea of what went wrong at commair.
OK, so risks taken (read debt incurred) pre-Covid which was presumably viable then became untenable when the economics of it all changed overnight due to Covid. Is that a fair summation?

What distinguished Comair from Safair that caused the one to fail and the other to survive in the same environment?

The viability of Comair as a business, especially with 40% market share, seems to be accepted. Why were they unable to raise sufficient funds to overcome the (temporary?) Debt hurdle?

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