When you board a plane and wait impatiently to begin your journey, there is always the regulation announcement before takeoff from the air stewards telling you how to put on your oxygen mask in case of an emergency. . Comair’s declaration to embark on the rescue of the company two years ago, and the shock announcement of its liquidation that followed, left employees without such a safety plan. Moreover, the impact of the company’s sudden departure will affect not only its employees, but the entire airline industry. –Victoria Ashwin
Speaking to Rampa Rammopo, CEO of Lanseria International Airport
The news of Comair’s liquidation shocked us. We knew they were having difficulties, financial difficulties, but we didn’t expect this to lead to where they are now. Not only employees were stunned, but also airline industry peers, such as Lanseria International Airport, which is a private airport that does not depend on ACSA if it loses key business partners like Comair.
We lost about 40% of our market. We even had to have an emergency meeting with my team this morning to inform them that we need to review some of the austerity measures we have put in place during COVID. So it wouldn’t be as aggressive as what we had during COVID. We are going to look at some of our cost items with a view to reducing them. Unfortunately, with our staff as well, we will also have to consider some measures to reduce this part of our business in terms of cost.
Commenting on Lanseria International Airport looking for alternative airlines like SAA or Lift to fill the void
We had these kinds of discussions even before Comair, and we realized that we had to fill the gaps created by, among others, Mango, when Mango embarked on the rescue of the company. And unfortunately, structurally, this industry in particular, and that’s the message we get from the airlines, they don’t have enough capacity. There is a demand for their services.
There is high demand but not enough capacity from other airlines
Unfortunately, where they are now, they don’t have the capacity, which means they don’t have the equipment to cater to that market. So the priority for them will be off OR Tambo International and not necessarily Lanseria.
The outlook remains positive for the future
But I also have to say that we’ve actually seen confidence come back to the market in the form of passengers now, you know, who are ready to fly. We saw it in our numbers from about February to May. And we actually expect the growth to continue. In fact, we’re anticipating that the recovery won’t be as long as we anticipated, you know, so the demand is there for services. But there are external factors that impact airline operations. But we’re pretty positive in terms of the outlook for the industry, it’s just those structural barriers that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
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