South African airline Comair has been unable to secure the financing needed to resume operations and is filing for liquidation.
The carrier, which operates under the British Airways livery and runs low-cost carrier, Kulula.com, suspended flights on May 31, 2022 due to a lack of funding, but its business rescue practitioners (BRP) had said then they were hopeful financing could be found.
However, on June 9, 2022, they said they had lodged a court application to convert business rescue proceedings into liquidation proceedings.
“We did our utmost to secure the funding, but when we were unable to do so had no option to lodge the application,” business rescue practitioner Richard Ferguson said in a statement. “It is an extremely sad day for the company, its employees, its customers and South African aviation.”
Comair had entered business rescue proceedings in May 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but resumed flights in December 2021 after the Comair Rescue Consortium (CRC) invested ZAR500m ($32 million).
However, Comair was then hit by more COVID travel restrictions related to the Omicron variant, the suspension of its AOC in March 2022 over a spate of incidents, and high fuel prices in recent months.
“Each of these events had a material negative impact on the business. The CRC were only able to finance the impact of these events up to a certain point,” Comair said in a statement, adding that the BRPs had tried to seek additional funding from other sources to mitigate the impact of these shocks.
Comair was founded in 1946 and pre-pandemic carried around 4.8 million passengers a year using a fleet of 26 Boeing 737 aircraft.