Comair (South Africa)
This article needs to be updated.October 2020)(
Comair Limited is an airline based in South Africa that operates scheduled services on domestic routes as a British Airways franchisee (and an affiliate member of the Oneworld airline alliance). It also operates as a low-cost carrier under its own kulula.com brand. Its main base is OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, and has focus cities at Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport. Its headquarters are near OR Tambo in the Bonaero Park area of Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
|Founded||1943 (as Commercial Air Services)|
|Hubs||OR Tambo International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Executive Club/Avios (when operating for British Airways)|
|Alliance||Oneworld (when operating for British Airways)|
|Traded as||JSE: COM|
|Headquarters||Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa|
|Key people||Group CEO: Wrenelle Stander|
|Revenue||ZAR 7.13 billion (2019)|
|Profit||ZAR 1.10 billion (2019)|
The idea for the airline came out of discussion of two second world war pilots based in Egypt, J.M.S. Martin and A.L. Zoubert, they gained another partner Leon Zimmerman and Commercial Air Services was formed in 1943 on their return to South Africa. The company began charter operations on 15 June 1946 using Fairchild F-24 Argus aircraft. Scheduled services between Rand Airport, Johannesburg and Durban began on 1 July 1948, using a Cessna 195.
In 1978, Donald (Dave) Novick negotiated a management buyout of Comair's aviation assets. A lengthy legal battle ensued between Novick and the Pickard Group. On 5 June 1978, Justice George Colman rendered a 291-page document in favour of Novick. In doing so, Colman established 12 precedents in South African corporate law; the litigation is now considered to be a landmark case.
When Novick joined Comair in 1961, the company had some 50 employees and operated two Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Under his direction, the company expanded its fleet into jet aircraft after the de-regulation of South African airline routes in 1991, and today[when?]} Comair operates 24 Boeing 737 aircraft with almost 2000 staff.
Novick pioneered a strong relationship with British Airways plc and a partnership through a franchise arrangement. British Airways later took a shareholding in Comair.
In 2001 kulula.com was established, by co-founders Gidon Novick and Erik Venter, as the first low-cost airline in South Africa. The airline has maintained its lead in this segment of the market, serving leisure business customers. As part of a R3.5-billion investment in fleet upgrade, Comair ordered eight Boeing 737-800s to update its fleet in 2013.
The government of the British Overseas Territories Saint Helena and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) announced in March 2015 that it had reached agreement with Comair for the provision of weekly air services from Johannesburg, to commence in 2016, when the Atlantic island's airport opens for revenue service.
Ownership and structureEdit
Comair Limited is a public company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE: COM) that operates scheduled and non-scheduled airline services under both its low-fare airline brand, kulula.com, and under the British Airways brand, as part of a licence agreement with British Airways PLC.
The group also has a number of subsidiary activities, including:
- Comair Catering Proprietary Limited, trading under the Food Directions brand, that provides on-board catering and retail services to the group’s flights, and health and other food products to South African retailers.
- SLOW Lounges, including at O. R. Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport.
Comair also has a 56% shareholding in The Highly Nutritious Food Company Proprietary Limited, trading as Eatrite, that distributes its products to retailers in South Africa.
The key trends for the Comair group (which includes activities under the British Airways and kulula.com brands) are shown below, as at years ending 30 June:
|Turnover (R m)||2,688||3,049||3,010||3,588||4,163||5,387||5,903||5,891||5,960||6,064||6,537||7,126|
|Profits before tax (EBT) (R m)||103||114||124||106||11||331||374||301||295||435||471||1,103|
|Profits after tax (R m)||219||193||297||326||897|
|Number of employees||1,781||1,782||1,941||1,953||1,853||1,912||2,026||2,088||2,100||2,121||2,206||2,193|
|Number of passengers (m)||5.2||5.1||5.4||5.5||5.8||6.0|
|Passenger load factor (%)||76||76||79|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||23||23||25||24||24||27||26||25||25||26||26||25|
The Group’s headquarters are based at 1 Marignane Drive, Bonaero Park, Kempton Park.
British Airways franchiseeEdit
Comair offer flights to and from the following destinations, operating under the British Airways brand:
- South Africa
- Cape Town – Cape Town International Airport focus city
- Durban – King Shaka International Airport focus city
- Johannesburg – OR Tambo International Airport Hub
- Port Elizabeth – Port Elizabeth Airport
Comair offers flights to and from the following destinations, operating under the kulula.com brand:
- South Africa
|Boeing 737 MAX 8||1||7||TBA||Deliveries from 2019.|
Incidents and accidentsEdit
- On 12 October 1982, Douglas C-47A ZS-EJK was written off when it crashed into a mountain near Graskop, 36 nautical miles (67 km) from Hoedspruit when attempting to divert to that airport. The weather was instrument meteorological conditions. All 30 people on board survived.
- On 1 March 1988, Comair Flight 206, an Embraer 110 Bandeirante, crashed in Johannesburg, killing all 17 occupants. One source suggests that this incident was caused by an explosive device, carried by a passenger employed as a mineworker who had recently taken out a substantial insurance policy.
- On 26 October 2015, Comair flight BA6234 (ZS-OAA), a Boeing 737-400 operated by Comair on behalf of British Airways, crashed and was damaged beyond repair at OR Tambo International Airport. The crashed was suspected to be caused by an early flare and fast touch down causing the left landing gear to collapse. No persons on board were killed or injured 
- "Contact Us Archived 18 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine." Comair. Retrieved 30 September 2009. "Comair Limited Physical address: Cnr Atlas Road and Marignane Drive Bonaero Park 1619 South Africa"
- Ken Fuller (June 2003). "Down Memory Lane - Rand Airport - The Early Years after World War Two". SAA Museum Society.
- Van Dyke, Capt Donald L (2008). Fortune Favours the Bold: An African Aviation Odyssey. Xlibris. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-4363-9314-0.
- Hahlo's South African Company Law Through the Cases: A Source Book : a Collection of Cases on Company Law, with Explanatory Notes and Comments.
- "Comair – British Airways (operated by Comair) celebrates first of its new fleet". comair.co.za. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Does Comair have eyes on Africa expansion?". News24. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- "Comair ditches joint-CEO model". BusinessLIVE. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2019" (PDF). 16 September 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2008" (PDF). 15 September 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2009" (PDF). 14 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2010" (PDF). 13 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- "Comair Limited Integrated Annual Report 2011" (PDF). 12 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- "Comair Limited Integrated Annual Report 2012" (PDF). 11 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2013" (PDF).
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2014" (PDF).
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2015" (PDF).
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2016" (PDF). 13 September 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2017" (PDF). 11 September 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Comair Limited Annual Report 2018" (PDF). 17 September 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- "Route Network". Comair. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- "Profile on Comair (South Africa)". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
- http://avcom.co.za/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=56880 Comair Aircraft configurations
- "C/N 19484". The Dakota Association of South Africa. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "ZS-EJK Accident report". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Accident Synopsis » 03011988," Airdisaster.com
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante ZS-LGP Germiston, c. 13 km SW of Johannesburg International Airport (JNB'". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
Media related to Comair Limited at Wikimedia Commons