Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu regrets indefinite grounding of Comair

The airline announced on Thursday that its business rescue practitioners no longer believed that there was a reasonable prospect that the company could be rescued.

FILE: Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has expressed regret at Comair's decision to close shop.

The airline announced on Thursday that its business rescue practitioners no longer believed that there was a reasonable prospect that the company could be rescued.

Comair, which operates British Airways and Kulula, entered into business rescue over two years ago.

Last week, the airline suspended flights pending the successful securing of additional funding.

The tourism ministry said that Comair flights accounted for 40% of the country's aviation market.

The airline also employs 1,200 people, whose livelihoods were now at risk.

Sisulu said that she hoped that the grounding of Comair flights would not result in other airlines raising prices.

Meanwhile, unions are working through the airline's liquidation application.

Solidarity's Derek Man said that they were working to strike a deal that would benefit its members.

“For us, it’s most important now that members, in the interim, get UIF, making sure that their CVs are updated and making sure that they get the required legal advice,” he said.

Metal workers union Numsa said that it was consulting with its members and lawyers on a way forward.