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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.

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In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

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

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Comments (27)

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

      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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