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Comair, BA’s South African franchise, is bust – here’s what happens next

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Comair, the British Airways franchise operator in South Africa, suspended its operations last week. The airline has now been placed into liquidation and it appears very unlikely that it will resume flights.

Back in 2020, Comair filed for ‘Business Rescue’ which is similar to Chapter 11 in the United States. It managed to raise new money and returned to the skies. It hasn’t been a smooth experience, however, with flights suspended for a few days in March 2022 following safety concerns.

The airline has run out of money again. It was hoped that new investment could be found, but liquidators have now been appointed.

Comair goes into liquidation

If you never flew Comair, it is a fascinating experience.  You were on a BA-branded aircraft (see the photo above) with crew in British Airways uniform, operating to BA service standards, flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town or similar.

What happens to my booked Comair flight?

British Airways has issued two guidance notes about rebooking on Airlink and South African Airways.

The most important point is this. If you were booked London – Johnannesburg – Cape Town, connecting to Comair ON THE SAME TICKET, BA will rebook you on the direct London – Cape Town service.

This is an excellent result which will shave a couple of hours off the journey time.

However, if you have a standalone Comair flight ticket, rebooking is only available until 14th June. This will be a problem if you booked an Avios seat using a 2-4-1 voucher, since your Comair connection will be on a standalone ticket. You will be on your own to find an alternative flight unless you are travelling in the next few days.

Click here for the official details of rebooking on Airlink

Click here for the official details of rebooking on South African Airways

To be clear, the liquidation of Comair has no impact on the British Airways long haul flights between London and Johannesburg / Cape Town.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (29)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • GinSling76 says:

    I had a BA holiday booking for flights from JNB to Victoria Falls, returning to CPT with a few days car hire there. Flights from LHR were booked on 241 reward bookings.

    Called BAH earlier in the week and was told I couldn’t rebook onto the Airlink flight to Livingstone or Kasane as they weren’t point to point same origin, same destination and as there was no alternative available to VFA there was nothing they could do.

    Called back yesterday after news about the liquidation broke and fortunately have now been re-booked on the Airlink flights JNB-VFA and VFA-CPT. Big relief to get it sorted after a week or so of uncertainty and facing the prospect of just having to accept a refund and pay for the much more expensive replacement flights.

  • Ian Preston says:

    Had a 2 -4 -1 booking in Club World, London to Johannesburg BA then connecting Comair top Capetown. Phoned last night and got rebooked direct London to Capetown which was a real win as we could not achieve that at the time of the original booking!

  • David says:

    Can anyone vouch for all these other cheaper LCC airlines like Mango, CemAir, lift?

    And on another note is SA safe enough to drive from say CPT up the coast towards JNB. I drove rental in and around JNB and felt midly safe few years back but I don’t know about anywhere else?

    • JAXBA says:

      I’ve driven CPT-GRJ on the N2 several times over the years and felt fine. CPT-JNB would be on the N1, away from the coast through BFN, but I don’t have experience of that route.
      Overall though, mildly safe describes driving in SA in general…

    • WaynedP says:

      Traversing South Africa’s vast distances is becoming increasingly challenging.

      In the last 18 months I’ve driven the N3 route JNB-DBN and back four times, most recently in Feb and May this year.

      Transport deregulation means that roads take a heavy pounding from numerous HGVs, which also slow progress on single Lane sections. But each time I’ve successfully made the 600km journey in 7-8 hours with a 45-60 minute stop enroute.

      Avoid driving before dawn or after sunset if at all possible.

      Overall Road condition isn’t bad, although there are some vicious potholes in places (or single shared lane in both directions at resurfacing sections, for some advance warning see https://aa.co.za/road-conditions-and-distance-calculator/)

      I have done the almost 1,500 km drive on the N1 from Cape Town to Jo’burg in one go in the past, but only as a car-sharing student in my early twenties. Nowadays I would split it with at least one overnight break enroute, but probably take a more leisurely three days and two unpressured overnight stops.

      If travelling the coastal N2 from Cape Town, I would only drive as far as Port Elizabeth (known as Gqeberha these days) and no further along the coast towards Durban/Kwa-Zulu Natal. The seriously dilapidated roads and dangerous presence of free roaming goats and cows in the former Transkei (or Wild Coast) makes this a no go region for any sane driver.

      Hiring a 4×4 is not essential, but does offer much better protection against both poor roads and the many drivers who blatantly ignore sensible rules of the road. Always check your rear view mirror before moving out to overtake, as often you’ll see someone screaming along from way behind overtaking multiple cars in almost death defying fashion.

      It’s ok if you know how to be a safe, defensive driver and once you realise how extra vigilant you need to be. But long stretches do become tiring and my wife is becoming increasingly nervous about long distance road trips.

      Fuel price is regulated (about £1.10 per litre) so you don’t feel ripped off at motorway service stations.

      I last used domestic airline (Mango) in SA in 2020, just before Covid, and realised that they would pose too much of a risk of infection, which I couldn’t risk in my particular circumstances, so avoided flying JNB-DBN throughout the pandemic.

      Things may be returning to normal there now if the removal of Comair and Kulula can be adequately handled by the remaining operators.

    • Rod says:

      Mango is no longer flying. You can certainly fly with Lift, or Cemair, and don’t forget Safair and Airlink as well.

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