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In the midst of a tough year, to receive a fat cheque from your archrival must give you the sort of mood lift usually achieved with a triple Jägerbomb at the end of a long night. Comair launched its case against SAA way back in 2005, demonstrating that the wheels of justice grind slowly indeed, but the resolution over SAA’s anticompetitive travel agent practices must have been met with wild rejoicing over at Comair HQ. It’s bad news for the taxpayer, who is ultimately on the hook for SAA’s endless saga of woe, but a bung of R1.1bn plus R168m of interest goes a long way to perk up the income statement in a difficult year.

Excluding the SAA bonanza, Comair’s profit before tax dropped by an ugly 82%, despite a record-beating revenue performance. Specific issues included the problems at SAA Technical, which forced Comair to send aircraft overseas for heavy maintenance, and the grounding of the 737 Max 8 due to its unfortunate tendency to drop out of the sky, which left Comair with...

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