No Kulula or British Airways domestic flights until spring

13 July 2021 - 14:04
Comair has delayed its operations restart date until September 1 as uncertainty around level 4 restrictions continues to reduce demand for air travel.
Comair has delayed its operations restart date until September 1 as uncertainty around level 4 restrictions continues to reduce demand for air travel.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES

Comair, operator of no-frills airline Kulula as well as British Airways' domestic franchise, will keep its planes on the ground until the end of August as passengers stay home in the wake of SA's pandemic regulations.

The company had already temporarily suspended operations on July 5 in the wake of level 4 restrictions which prohibited all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng, along with little demand for business travel and international travel bans also reducing demand.

Comair had intended restarting flights on July 30, but the continuing uncertainty about when level 4 restrictions will be lifted, along with the increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 “Delta” variant, the company decided to push the date out to the spring.

“This decision was not made lightly, as it has a significant impact on both our customers and our employees,” said Comair CEO Glenn Orsmond.

“However, under the circumstances we believe it is the correct course of action to ensure the health and wellbeing of our customers and employees.”

Orsmond said the company empathised with the government's “unenviable position” as it tried to balance the struggling economy with the country's physical health.

“Without government engagement, with or support for the aviation sector and associated services, the ability to plan constructively for a meaningful service beyond July 30 is exceptionally challenging,” he added.

Orsmond said opening vaccine registration for the 35- to 49-year-old group was also a critical step that would help ensure customer and employee safety as well as stimulate demand for air travel.

Tickets for travel with Kulula for the period June 28 to August 31 2021 will remain valid for a year until August 31 2022 and no booking fees or differences in fares will be charged.

Customers holding long-haul British Airways-125 tickets on a cancelled BA (operated by Comair) connection during the suspension period, will be provided with alternative flights.

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