Comair to keep flying amid probe

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(iStock)
(iStock)

Johannesburg - Comair, the South African operator of British Airways flights, has won a court ruling to continue flying in the country amid a legal investigation into whether the company breaches airline foreign-ownership limits.

The Pretoria High Court granted an interdict to the Johannesburg-based carrier that ensures its license won’t be withdrawn by the Air Services Licensing Council before the probe is completed, Comair said in a statement on Tuesday. The ASLC argues Comair isn’t compliant with a ruling that airlines can’t be more than 25% owned by international entities. Comair says it’s not in breach of the law.

“It’s business as usual and we remain confident that Comair is compliant,” said chief executive officer Erik Venter.

“We are pleased as this interdict ensures operational certainty for the many thousands of travellers who fly with Comair.”

As well as operating domestic and regional British Airways flights, Comair also owns South African carrier Kulula.com, which operates in the highly competitive low-cost market. Its rivals include Mango, part of state-owned South African Airways and closely held Flysafair. A fourth budget carrier, Skywise, was suspended by Airports Company South Africa in December due to unpaid charges.

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, the London-based parent of British Airways, owns an 11.5% stake in Comair, according to a spokesperson. Bidvest, a South African operator of businesses ranging from food distribution to car rentals, owns a 26% stake.

Comair [JSE:COM] shares declined 2.5% to 3.15 rand at tea in in Johannesburg, valuing the airline at R1.5bn.


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