South Africa’s Comair unlikely to restart operations before November


South Africa’s Comair said on Tuesday it was unlikely to restart operations before November, even after the easing of restrictions on air travel, as the airline requires a substantial cash injection.

The company, which operates the local British Airways franchise and budget airline, entered bankruptcy protection process last month after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown forced airlines to suspend all commercial flights.

Its administrators confirmed on Tuesday they were in talks with six potential funders to secure capital in order to resume domestic operations by November.

The administrators also said that the airline would shrink its fleet, which currently consists of 27 aircraft including the grounded Boeing 737 MAX8, to reduce costs and reflect the demand for air travel post the coronavirus crisis.

Employees have been placed on unpaid leave and retrenchment proceedings are continuing, said Shaun Collyer, one of the administrators.

Comair is in talks with parties interested in buying some of its operating assets as going concerns.

The airline plans to pay its creditors through the sale of non-core assets, any equity capital raised or by the issue of shares.

The administrators intend to have substantially implemented the rescue plan by March next year, when the company will be handed back to the board.