Comair has been granted an interim interdict by the North Gauteng High Court to prevent Safair’s new low-cost airline, FlySafair, from beginning operations between Johannesburg and Cape Town on 17 October.
“This order effectively prohibits us from starting our operation until such time as the Air Services Licensing Council’s decision to grant Safair the scheduled license has been reviewed by the court,” said Dave Andrew, CEO of FlySafair.
Comair alleges that Safair’s new airline flouts the Civil Aviation Act which requires that South African airlines have a 75% local ownership. Safair is owned by Irish group ASL Aviation, but FlySafair has three South African board members with the necessary 75% shareholding.
Erik Venter, CEO of Comair, claims however that this is merely a front to get around the Act.
Comair has been ordered by the court to honour tickets sold by FlySafair, on the dates and at the prices stipulated on the bookings.
“Following negotiations with all the major banks and having provided guarantees to the Air Services Licensing Council, passengers are guaranteed that their money will be refunded in full should they wish to cancel their flights,” said Andrew. “Even though this is a setback for FlySafair, we are positive that we can overcome this hurdle, and we look forward to providing South Africa with a new alternate domestic carrier to ensure more competition and reduced pricing in the future.”