Comair, SAA suspend flights during Covid-19 lockdown
SAA suspends its domestic flight service until April 17
Comair, the operator of low-cost carrier kulula.com, will suspend flights between March 26 and April 19 following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday night of a three-week lockdown, Comair CEO Wrenelle Stander said on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening, embattled national carrier SAA also said it would suspend domestic flights. The service will resume on April 17. SAA last week suspended its international flights until May 31.
Stander said the outbreak of the coronavirus, which she said was one of the most devastating global pandemics in modern times, had severely affected the local and global airline industry and had put a huge strain on Comair’s operations. The JSE-listed company has the licence to operate British Airways.
“The far-reaching measures designed to curb the spread of this disease in SA require all of us to change the way we do business, serve our customers and interact with each other socially and in the workplace. We remain in close contact with various industry partners, relevant regulators and health authorities to ensure we abide by all regulations and remain responsible and proactive in preventing the virus from spreading,” Stander said.
She said the company’s employees would be at home between March 27 and April 17. “Where possible, employees will work from home. Our operations will be shut down,” she said.
The company had previously suspended flights to a number of destinations in Southern Africa. These included Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Mauritius.
On Monday evening, fellow aviation company Safair also announced the suspension of flights between March 26 and April 20. “We are working to put the necessary procedures in place to look after our customers and our teams,” Safair said in a statement. The company said it would operate its final flights on Wednesday evening.
The low-cost carrier did not make an announcement about its flights during the lockdown but said it was reviewing its policies following Ramaphosa’s announcement.