Comair launches tech joint venture

British Airways’ (operated by Comair) (Supplied)
British Airways’ (operated by Comair) (Supplied)

Continuing its diversification beyond its core airline business, Comair has entered a joint venture with information technology (IT) company Infinea to launch a new business, Nacelle.

Comair operates under its low-fare airline brand, kulula.com, as well as under the British Airways livery, as part of a license agreement.

“Like most industries, technology plays a pivotal role in our business. That’s why we’ve decided to spin off our IT budget and team into a separate entity that will provide a variety of IT related services, which will include the commercialisation of our intellectual property," explained Comair CEO Erik Venter.

"The new venture’s strength and opportunity lies in leveraging and commercialising Comair’s decades of discipline in operational processes, with Infinea’s deep expertise in software development and IT support."

Nacelle will be a service provider in aviation and related sectors, providing services such as IT operations and support, IT project deployment, process design and software development.
 
Comair’s IT department has reached organisational maturity, scale and delivery where it is ready to undergo progression to a profitable entity, creating multiple new revenue streams that will generate additional shareholder value, according to Venter.

Using Comair as its primary customer, Nacelle’s vision is to develop and build the next generation of operationally tested solutions for a broader airline community, as well as for other industries that benefit from similar technology driven solutions including logistics, e-commerce, payment solutions, operations management, training and e-learning, and loyalty.

Nacelle will be in a position to leverage the aviation talent, technology and processes at Comair, and further extend it with innovative platforms, payment solutions, and customer centric technology from Infinea.

Comair has also recently acquired the leadership development consultancy firm Metaco Holdings as part of its diversification strategy.
 
Venter said the acquisition fits well with its training business that already encompasses courses for pilots, cabin crew, ground operations staff and travel and tourism.  

“Comair has evolved from operating two airline brands into an aviation group, with operations in aviation training, catering, hospitality and tourism and airport lounges. We are now balancing the capital-intensive airline business with new business units that are more reliant on intellectual capital and have a different revenue cycle and cost base,” said Venter.

Comair has already worked extensively with Metaco over the past two years.

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