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Comair crash: High Court places business in provisional liquidation

kulula.com. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)

kulula.com. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 14, 2022

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Comair, which operated kulula.com and local British Airways flights in South Africa, has had another nail driven into its coffin after it was placed in provisional liquidation by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The company said in papers filed at the court that it no longer had access to capital to fund its operational costs.

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Comair suspended operations earlier this month, saying that it was unable to make salary and wage payments owed to its workers beyond May 2022.

It also said it was no longer able to pay aircraft storage, maintenance and insurance costs.

In the company’s application, it also said that it could not meet obligations towards its funding and trade creditors.

Comair further stated that the liquidation was necessary for the business to preserve its fleet of aircraft, valued at about R3.5 billion, for the benefit of creditors.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said last week that its members were shocked and angry and felt betrayed after Comair’s business rescue practitioners (BRPs) announced that the company would be liquidated.

Numsa said: “They feel betrayed because they fought with all they had to keep the airline in the sky. For more than two years, they were not paid their salaries in full because they were told this would ensure the airline's survival. Comair was founded in 1943. It is a viable business which has over 40% share of the aviation market. It is facing collapse simply because it was mismanaged by Richard Ferguson, the BRP and the CEO, Glenn Orsmond.”

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Ferguson was appointed in May 2020 after the airline was placed under business rescue.

Affected parties have until July 26 to provide the court with reasons why the provisional liquidation order should not be made a final order.

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