Kulula aircraft likely to remain grounded for at least six months

The eye-catching green machines are unlikely to take to the skies anytime soon.

Kulula aircraft likely to remain grounded for at least six months

As a result of the nationwide lockdown, Comair’s low-cost carrier, Kulula, is likely to remain grounded until at least October 2020.

This was announced in a statement issued by Comair on 30 April. According to the airline, severe financial distress, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent impact on air travel, has compromised Kulula’s operational potential. Adding to the airline’s woes are stringent risk management regulations which will only allow for full domestic air travel at Level 2.

Comair records operating loss of R562 million

Comair also noted that the predicament faced by South African Airways (SAA), which was placed under business rescue administration prior to the outbreak, had resulted in fierce financial losses, explaining:

“… as a result of South African Airways going into Business Rescue and failing to pay Comair an amount of R790 Million (Net R505 Million), the Company made an operating loss for the period of R562 million.”

While South Africa readies itself to enter Level 4 lockdown on Friday 1 May, uncertainty surrounding the timeline of future risk stages persists. This poses particularly daunting prospects for local airlines. Kulula’s entire fleet has been grounded since 17 March.

In addition to lobbying for governmental assistance, Comair has embarked on negotiations with banks with the hope of securing bridging finance. Discussions in both regards are on-going.

In the meantime, however, the airline is on a furious mission to reduce costs, which includes Section 189A retrenchments and a reduction in executives.

Kulula will only take to the skies in October or November 2020

While Comair and its carrier, Kulula, languish under the financial stress of lockdown, an estimated time of operational arrival rests near to the end of 2020. If these estimations turn out to be correct, Kulula would’ve been inactive for 10 months. Comair said:

“The level of the prevailing COVID 19 risk will determine the progression from Risk Level 5 to Risk Level 1. In terms of the Governments requirements, it is not anticipated that Comair will commence operating prior to October or November 2020.”

The airline added that although it had experienced an era of prosperity prior to COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, its profits had been eaten away by inactivity. Comair noted:

“… 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…”

The airline ended its statement by asking shareholders “to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities”.

Source : The South African More   

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ANC MEC faces criminal charges for saying ‘lockdown ends on Friday’

It's poor form from Sello Lehari, who may now be taken to court for telling citizens in the North West that lockdown would be completed lifted this week.

ANC MEC faces criminal charges for saying ‘lockdown ends on Friday’

As South Africa moves from Level 5 of lockdown to Level 4 on Friday – without cigarettes – it would seem that some people are keener than others to get the restrictions lifted. One MEC in North West has been accused of spreading false information about the global health crisis, and he’ll soon have the authorities to answer to.

North West MEC in trouble for saying “lockdown ends on Friday”

Freddy Sonakile is the DA’s North West Spokesperson on Community Safety & Transport. He was left livid by the statements made on Wednesday. He has blasted MEC Sello Lehari for “exposing his own dangerous ignorance”, and revealed that the provincial branch of the party will pursue a criminal case against the MEC:

“North West’s MEC for Department of Community Safety and Transport, Sello Lehari, announced at a public meeting in Ganyesa that the lockdown will come to an end on Friday 1 May. This claim is not only false, but it also exposes his ignorance on the lockdown regulations. The DA will accordingly lay criminal charges.”

“It is concerning that the MEC should be entrusted with community safety matters whilst he is displaying very limited knowledge of the laws of this country. It is further interesting that Lehari was able to go and mislead the public when his office informed us that he is in the process of ‘recovering from an accident’.

Freddy Sonakile

Things could get even worse for Sello Lehari

On top of pursuing criminal charges, the DA will now write to the Premier of the North West, Job Mokgoro, requesting him to instruct the MEC to retract his utterances and to consider disciplinary steps against him.

It’s understood that Lehari, if the case is successful, will be charged under new laws which make it illegal to spread false information about the lockdown. Potential punishments, according to the National Disaster act, include fines and jail time – although the latter outcome remains unlikely.

  • For the avoidance of doubt: Lockdown does not end anywhere in South African on Friday 1 May. All that’s happening in a slight adjustment in what we’re allowed to do in the next phase. The details are all here.
Source : The South African More   

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