Suspension of Comair operator certificate a precautionary measure
Suspension of Comair operator certificate a precautionary measure. Photo:

Following President Ramaphosa’s announcement that South Africa will remain on an adjusted LEVEL 4 lockdown for at least the next two weeks, Comair has announced it will extend the suspension of scheduled and British Airways (operated by Comair) flights until 31 August 2021.

Comair initially temporarily suspended its flights from 5 July 2021 due to the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic in South Africa which led to a prohibition of all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng, very little to no demand for business travel and international travel bans.

The intention was to re-start operations from 30 July, but given the uncertainty of how long the adjusted LEVEL 4 lockdown will last, ongoing restriction of travel in and out of Gauteng coupled with the rampant transmissibility of the COVID-19 “Delta” variant, Comair has decided to further suspend flight operations until 31 August 2021.

The company said this difficult decision has been taken in the interest of the well-being of employees and customers.

Without Government engagement or support for the aviation sector, Comair says the ability to plan constructively beyond 30 July 2021 is exceptionally challenging. Taking the potential variables into consideration, Comair plans to resume scheduled operations on Wednesday 1 September 2021.

Comair CEO, Glenn Orsmond, apologised to customers affected by the suspension. He said:

“This decision was not made lightly, as it has a significant impact on both our customers and our employees. However, under the circumstances we believe it is the correct course of action to ensure the health and wellbeing of our customers and employees. We empathize with Government’s unenviable position with regards to balancing the health of the nation and the suffering economy.

“We also welcome the announcement opening vaccine registration for the 35–49-year-old group from 15 July 2021. This is a crucial step towards ensuring the safety of our customers and our employees, as well as stimulating demand and the recovery of our economy and tourism industry. We anticipate the vaccine roll-out picking up pace in earnest and hope to see it reaching critical mass in the next month or two and look forward to welcoming our customers back on board on 1 September.”