South African airline Comair says that it does not anticipate recommencing flights until October at the earliest.

Comair operates as a British Airways franchise carrier on South African domestic services, as well as offering flights under its own low-cost Kulula brand.

It has not operated any flights since March 17, and in a statement the group said that government requirements meant “it is not anticipated that Comair will commence operating prior to October or November 2020”.

The airline said that “since the imposition of the lockdown, there has been no revenue generated by any of the business divisions”.

It added that measures taken so far had included a reduction in staff numbers, negotiations with the banking industry over securing bridging finance, and discussions with Boeing regarding the cancellation of its B737 Max 8 order (as well as the payment of compensation for the grounding of the Max fleet).

Comair took delivery of the first of eight B737 Max 8 aircraft in February 2019, shortly before all Max aircraft were grounded worldwide following two fatal accidents involving the aircraft.

“Although the Company was experiencing financial headwinds prior to the Covid 19 outbreak, the five week lockdown has caused the situation to rapidly deteriorate to a point where the Company finds itself in a very difficult financial position and shareholders are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further
announcement is made,” the statement concluded.

The news comes as reports suggest South Africa’s flag carrier South African Airways could be liquidated within days, with a new national airline set up to take its place.