The flag carrier of South Africa, South African Airways (SAA), is in talks with the UK airline British Airways (BA) over potentially replacing the now-defunct Comair in a franchise agreement. 

Speaking to News24 on September 2, 2022, SAA chief executive John Lamola confirmed that the Johannesburg-based airline has shown its interest in operating domestic and regional flights to various destinations in South Africa, which used to be served by Comair under a franchise deal with BA.  

Comair, which was established in 1946 as South African aviation and travel group, entered into a franchisee agreement with British Airways in 1996. The agreement entailed Comair servicing local and regional routes under the British Airways livery.  

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The London-based British air carrier ceased its partnership with the defunct low-cost carrier Comair in June 2022, after it was placed into liquidation due to its failure to deal with the pandemic-related financial instability.  

In an attempt to remain afloat, Comair, which held around 40% of South Africa’s domestic aviation market, entered voluntary business rescue proceedings on May 5, 2020. However, the business could not be saved and on May 31, 2022, the airline closed its doors. 

British Airways has not publicly made any official announcements yet on the matter. 

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British Airways is seeking a new South African airline partner after dropping its franchise agreement with SA airline operator Comair.