AIRLINE Comair has announced that it will return to the skies from September 1 as planned.
The airline, which operates kulula.com and British Airways in South Africa, temporarily suspended services on July 5 after the government implemented an adjusted level 4 lockdown and prohibited all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng, and there was low demand for air travel.
Comair marketing executive Brian Kitchin said the temporary suspension of flights was the right decision while Covid-19 cases peaked and the vaccination programme gained momentum.
“It wasn’t an easy call to make because of the impact on our customers and employees, but we’ve used the time well, innovating a new fare offering preparing for the restart, and looking to re-open more routes such as Mauritius. Flying is what we do, and we’re eager to take off again and provide South African travellers with compelling products and competitive fares,” he said.
According to the airline, it is preparing its aircraft, flight and cabin crews, and airport personnel to ensure a seamless restart of services.
The airline said that during the suspension of flights, its revenue management team had worked on new, flexible fare options.
British Airways will re-launch its Joburg/Mauritius route, operating two flights a week from November 30. The airline said it planned to add a third flight in the future.
Meanwhile, SAA announced that in less than a month, the airline will be visible in the skies, as it will resume operations.
The airline exited its business rescue process at the end of April shortly after interim chief executive Thomas Kgokolo was appointed.
The carrier confirmed that the first flights will start on Thursday, September 23. Tickets will go on sale on Thursday.
Voyager bookings and Travel Credit Voucher redemption will be available from Monday, September 6.
Kgokolo said: “After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service, and we look forward to welcoming on board our loyal passengers and flying the South African flag. We continue to be a safe carrier and adhering to Covid-19 protocols.”
The company said it would initially operate flights from Joburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations would be added to the route network as it ramps up operations in response to market conditions.
Kgokolo said: “There is a profound feeling of enthusiasm within Team SAA as we prepare for take-off with one common purpose: to rebuild and sustain a profitable airline that once again takes a leadership role among local, continental and international airlines.
“The aviation sector is currently going through a testing period, and we are aware of the tough challenges that lie ahead in the coming weeks. We thank South Africa for the support we have received in getting us to where we are today. As we are now poised for take-off, we see this as a major milestone for SAA and the country.”
According to the chairperson of SAA’s board, John Lamola, since the national carrier came out of business rescue at the end of April, the Department of Public Enterprises, together with the board and the management team, have been planning for the relaunch of a restructured and fit-for-purpose airline of which South Africans can again be proud.
“The airline is restarting with a formidable business case,” said Lamola.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE