Comair To Sue S. Africa Over SAA Funding - Report

February 27, 2013

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South African airline Comair, a franchise partner for British Airways, plans to take the government to court over its continued funding of state carrier South African Airways, the Business Report newspaper said on Wednesday.

Africa's biggest economy last year agreed to guarantee ZAR5 billion rand (USD$566 million) in loans for the troubled national airline over the next two years.

Comair's chief executive Erik Venter said the latest bailout and previous payments did not comply with either the domestic aviation transport policy or the law, according to the paper.

"Comair's sole objective is to attain a level playing field in the domestic aviation market to ensure that all airlines face the same risks and the same requirements to operate on sound commercial principles," he was quoted as saying.

Venter said Comair was not seeking to stop all financial support of SAA or to shut or privatise the airline, but asking that any assistance be in line with domestic transport policy to minimise impact on other operators.

Neither Comair nor South Africa's department of public enterprises, which oversees SAA, could be reached for comment.