HomeAviation NewsBritish Airways could be a new South African partner

British Airways could be a new South African partner

After years of doing business together, Comair terminated its franchise agreement with British Airways. Comer is a South African airline that sports the British Airways livery and operates both domestic and regional flights around South Africa on behalf of British Airways. With the termination of this contract, it is anticipated that British Airways will seek a new partner to fill this role in South Africa.

A concluded contract

Recently, British Airways terminated its franchise agreement with Comair. Comair has been operating regional and domestic flights to South Africa for years on behalf of British Airways. The termination resulted in a cancellation trigger previously written into the agreement between the two airlines. The liquidation will begin if Comair ever goes through temporary liquidation.

Comair has recently entered into temporary liquidation due to the company’s financial struggles. The airline had to cease flight operations on May 31 due to insufficient funds to meet operational expenses. I am leaving both airlines in a difficult situation. British Airways will need to find another airline to operate the flights previously operated by Comair to meet current and future demand for air travel to South Africa. If not, it will have to divert a significant portion of its thinly-stretched assets to meet this demand.

All Comair aircraft to be repainted with British Airways livery. Photo: Boeing

Comair must redefine its business strategy to work for other airlines or establish its routes and attract passengers. It will no longer be allowed to sport the British Airways livery, meaning all aircraft will undergo an expensive repaint process. All planes with this livery will either need to be repainted for another airline if Comair agrees to operate a different airline, or they will need to sport either a neutral or Comair livery.

Looking for new friends

British Airways must quickly provide a scenario for mass disruption to flights that follow this termination agreement. The provisional liquidator handling Comair’s liquidation, Colette Murray, said.

“It is my understanding that BA is now looking for a new partner in the South African market,”

British Airways is not the only party in talks with other airlines. Since the commencement of provisional liquidation proceedings, Comair has received 21 letters from various parties seeking to acquire the airline or its assets. The identity of these potential buyers has not yet been disclosed. Comair owns all of its aircraft independently of British Airways, unlike many contracted airlines, allowing it to use these assets’ value to support the company financially.

Comair will likely sell many of its aircraft if it does not sell the entire airline. Photo: Boeing

Few airlines can currently fill Comair’s role for British Airways, as Comair handles about 40 percent of South Africa’s domestic aviation market. Unfortunately for Komair, the pandemic took a significant financial toll on the airline. Since the pandemic, it has struggled to recover its losses leading it to temporary liquidity.

As Comair undergoes temporary liquidation, British Airways has terminated its franchise agreement with the South African airline. This leaves a massive gap in the market, and both airlines will have to adapt quickly to meet demand. Comair must reinvent itself, with British Airways scrambling to find another airline to fill the role.

What do you think of this latest franchise ending? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Fin24

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