Airline group Comair will temporarily suspend all its scheduled kulula.com and British Airways domestic flights in South Africa for three weeks as of Monday July 5, it announced on Friday.
This comes amid a fall in demand for air travel due to the Covid-19 third wave surge and alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions being implemented in the country.
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A 9pm curfew and no leisure tourism being allowed out of Gauteng under the current restrictions, has severely impacted tourism and hospitality businesses including hotels, casinos and airlines.
“Flights will be suspended from Monday 5 July and Comair aims to recommence services from July 30, subject to regulations being eased and Covid-19 infection rates, particularly in Gauteng, being contained,” Comair noted in a statement.
Comair CEO Glenn Orsmond apologised to customers affected by the suspension.
“This was a difficult decision, but we believe under the circumstances is the right course of action for our loyal customers and employees,” said Orsmond.
Customers of kulula.com who are holding a valid ticket booked for travel between June 28, 2021 and July 29, 2021, will be able utilise their ticket within twelve months from first date of travel without any penalty, according to Comair.
“No change of booking fee or fare difference will be charged … The British Airways ‘Book with Confidence’ policy will apply to all customers holding a valid ticket with British Airways [operated by Comair],” the group added.
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Comair business rescue practitioner, Richard Ferguson, described the temporary suspension as a “bold, brave and responsible step towards ensuring passenger and staff health and safety”.
He said the decision had further been taken in light of the prohibition on leisure travel to and from Gauteng, very little business and leisure travel elsewhere in the country, and no connecting traffic from international carriers.