British Airways Franchise Comair Set To Cut Fleet By 50%

British Airways franchisee Comair today announced that it is looking to cut its fleet in half. The South African carrier was placed into business rescue proceedings around a month ago shortly after it revealed that is doesn’t expect to fly until October.

Comair, Fleet Reduction, British Airways
British Airways franchisee Comair is set to cut its fleet in half. Photo: Boeing

South African aviation has been going through a relatively tumultuous time of late. Three of its major carriers are all currently undergoing administration proceedings. South African Airways, Comair, and SA Express are all struggling with the effects of the current aviation industry. However, South African Airways had already been struggling for quite a while before the current situation.

What’s happening at Comair?

Comair was forced to suspend all flights on March 26th when a national lockdown came into force. The airline then entered business rescue on May 5th. The move was prompted by disappearing revenue streams, while fixed overhead costs remained. In essence, no money was coming in, but money still needed to go out.

On Tuesday, the airline announced that its administrators were looking to rationalize its fleet of 27 Boeing 737 aircraft. It now seems that that rationalization has been reached.

The airline today released a “Notice to Consult in Terms of Section 150(1)”, which contained a brief outline of the critical elements of its business rescue plan. Several points related directly to the airline’s fleet.

Comair, Fleet Reduction, British Airways
Kulula’s aircraft feature fun yet informative green liveries. Photo: Boeing

The airline is looking to keep its fleet in storage. The airline expects to fly again from November 1st, providing that unrestricted domestic travel is permitted to resume. However, the Comair fleet will be smaller, as a critical point in the business rescue plan is reducing the number of operational aircraft by 50%.

It says that the reduced fleet will also reduce its operational requirements. Alongside the fleet reduction, the South African airline will also look to renegotiate aircraft lease and finance agreements. The airline is also looking to identify which assets it could sell.

Which aircraft are in Comair’s fleet?

Comair operates a fleet solely comprised of the Boeing 737. According to the airline, it currently has 27 such aircraft in two liveries. As British Airways’ South African franchise, a number of the airline’s aircraft are painted in the British Airways Chatham Dockyard livery.

Comair, Fleet Reduction, British Airways
The airline has eight Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on order. Photo: Boeing

Before the delivery of British Airways’ first Airbus A350, they were the first aircraft in the livery to feature painted wingtips. The remainder of the aircraft are operated under the Kualula brand, with a playful green livery explaining the different parts of the plane to passers-by.

Less than a month before the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, the South African carrier received its first aircraft of the type. The airline currently has eight MAX aircraft on order. At this time, it is unclear if the orders will form part of the business rescue proceedings.

What do you make of Comair’s decision to halve its fleet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.