Tourism council warns Comair closure could further decimate aviation sector

Tourism Business Council CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says the liquidation of Comair could prove a major blow for the sector.

Picture: Facebook.com/Comair

JOHANNESBURG - Tourism Business Council of South Africa CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa says the liquidation of Comair could prove a major blow for the sector.

On Tuesday, the high court placed Comair under provisional liquidation as the airline battled a financial crisis.

Tshivhengwa says disruptions caused by the airline’s liquidation may cause a ripple effect for other sectors as well.

He has also raised concern over the rising airline costs - which have been brought on by dwindling competitiveness in the aviation sector, adding this could drive tourists away.

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Tshivhengwa adds the council will put pressure on the Air Service Licensing Council to issue more licences to aircraft that want to increase the frequency of flights.

The embattled airline operator, which is believed to account for 40% of the domestic aviation market, will only slow the tourism industry’s recovery.

Tshivhengwa believes the call to the air service licensing council will help boost capacity and keep the tourism industry afloat.

“If we do that effectively and fast enough, then we may be able to turn the aircrafts that are sitting down to be listed under airlines and be able to operate and we may have the capacity that we need. This can save the recovery of the tourism industry.”

Tourism in the country suffered an onslaught during the COVID-19 pandemic with flights grounded globally.