Comair 'unlikely to start operating until November'
Retrenchment process under way as company plans to cut fleet by half
Although domestic flights have been opened up under level 3 of the lockdown, Comair - which operates BAA and kulula.com in SA - says it is unlikely to take to the skies again until November.
In a statement, the airline's business rescue practitioners said the company required a "substantial cash injection".
"The aircraft are currently in a preservation programme to ensure that they are ready to fly again. The resumption of operations now would however require securing fuel suppliers and covering numerous other costs, which the airline would not be able to meet without a significant cash injection," read the statement, issued on Tuesday.
As part of the business rescue, Comair employees have been placed on unpaid leave, with retrenchment processes under way.
The airline is considering reducing its current fleet by half - from 27 planes to 13.
Shaun Collyer, one of the business rescue practitioners, said: "This unfortunate hardship has been imposed on Comair employees as a consequence of the Covid-19 lockdown and state-of-disaster act."
The practitioners said they were in discussions about recapitalising the airline "in order to resume domestic passenger operations by November 1".
"Over 30 potential funders had been contacted and six are progressing discussions," they said.
They added that Comair had acquired a 50% shareholding of Nacelle, a South African aerotech company.
"The negotiations began before Comair entered business rescue and the deal will give it full control of IT infrastructure, customer data, flight systems and support services.
"Comair is not able to fund the deal now. It has agreed to pay in instalments over 17 months once funding has been secured."