Comair collapse a blow for tourism recovery - 40% of local seat capacity lost

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| Bruce Whitfield interviews Oz Desai, General Manager of business travel specialists Corporate Traveller.

The pending liquidation of Comair is a blow for the local tourism industry.

Its business rescue practitioners confirmed on Thursday that Comair had failed to raise the necessary funding to continue with operations.

The failure of the British Airways and Kulula operator is a major concern, cutting as it does 40% of the country's domestic seat capacity says South African Tourism.

"A robust and dynamic aviation industry is critical for the recovery of the tourism sector."

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Bruce Whitfield interviews Oz Desai, General Manager of business travel specialists Corporate Traveller.

It's devastating news - this organisation that's been around for almost 80 years... and consumers are going to be irate.

Oz Desai, General Manager - Corporate Traveller

Desai notes that there is a re-accommodation policy in place for affected BA passengers to Airlink.

When it comes to the issue of refunds though, people who bought tickets ultimately become creditors in the case of liquidation.

What you could do is lodge it with your financial institution... If you paid by card you could get a chargeback. That's what we did back in the day when 1Time went down - that was a way where many consumers were able to recover some of their funds.

Oz Desai, General Manager - Corporate Traveller

Desai says the airline industry was probably running at around 80-90% of pre-COVID levels in the domestic market a few weeks ago.

With Comair out of the picture, that capacity is likely to drop to 40-45%, according to Desai.

While he does foresee other players creating additional capacity on key routes in the coming weeks, there won't be a quick return to previous levels Desai says.

You're ultimately left with a handful of airlines which are a lot more stable and have been flying consistently. There's a bit of déjà vu to the start of the pandemic... It's going to be ultimately up to the key players to look at their capability to get additional aircraft, but it also needs to make financial sense to them...

Oz Desai, General Manager - Corporate Traveller

Listen to the full conversation in the audio clip below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Comair collapse a blow for tourism recovery - 40% of local seat capacity lost

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