Comair to take on SAA


South Africa’s remaining independent domestic airline Comair has announced the launch of a High Court legal action, challenging the South African government’s R5bn guarantee granted to national carrier South African Airways.

In a media briefing in Johannesburg, Comair CEO Erik Venter said that the current and previous bailouts received by SAA, which now allegedly amount to over R11bn over eight ‘turnaround plans’, do not comply with either the Domestic Aviation Transport Policy or the law (the South African constitution, the SAA Act, the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Public Finances Management Act). Venter said they had “no other recourse”, thus they are resorting to “legal action to achieve compliance and have not done so lightly.”

Comair’s actions are in response to SAA’s latest turnaround strategy, which is laid out over the next 20 years and was discussed in parliament last week. The objective of the challenge, according to Venter, is to “attain a level playing field in the domestic aviation market to ensure that all airlines face the same risks and the same requirements to operate on sound commercial principles.” Venter also said that the action taken by Comair was “an action to ensure that government will provide funding to SAA only after consultation with all affected stakeholders (as per the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act), and that any funding is in accordance with government’s Domestic Aviation Transport Policy. Comair has a responsibility to its employees, customers and shareholders to secure a level playing field in which to conduct its business.”

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