Tag: Kulula

How to get your Kulula refund

By Maya Fisher-French for News24

After announcing the suspension of flights last week due to funding issues, Comair this week announced that it had applied for liquidation. The application will be heard in court on Tuesday.

According to a press statement released by Comair, the company’s employees and customers who had bookings or were owed refunds will now become creditors of the company.

Customers will be concurrent creditors, which means customers due refunds will only receive payment if there are funds left after paying costs and preferential creditors. However, there are various ways that customers can obtain a refund depending on the airline and depending on how they booked their flights.

For those customers who had booked local British Airways (operated by Comair) flights, the British Airways Booking with Confidence Policy will apply. This means that tickets will either be refunded or rebooked.

If you have a standalone booking with British Airways (operated by Comair) to fly within southern Africa, take note of the following:

If you are due to travel up to and including June 14, you can obtain a refund via Manage my Booking, or call British Airways to discuss rebooking options.

If you are due to travel from June 15 onwards, you can obtain a refund via Manage my Booking.

If you have a booking with Comair and you booked through a travel agent, you will need to contact them directly regarding refunds.
Kulula customers

Kulula customers who booked during the “winter sale” special on May 30 will be fully refunded. Other Kulula customers will become concurrent creditors.

Customers need to email MNContactCentre@comair.co.za for information.

Chargeback – a refund from your bank

Kulula customers who booked using their Visa, American Express or Mastercard could qualify for a refund under the chargeback rules. When you use your card for transactions, you qualify for chargeback rights if merchants don’t deliver goods and services.

A chargeback prevents customers from suffering financial loss and engaging in lengthy disputes with merchants. The bank takes care of this within a clearly defined process.

According to Standard Bank, a chargeback would automatically apply once the airline goes into liquidation. This means that if the liquidation order is granted on Tuesday, all ticket holders who booked using a Mastercard, American Express or Visa card will be able to apply for a chargeback from their bank.

Nedbank has confirmed that “impacted clients who were not able to fly and purchased tickets using a payment card, branded with a Visa, Mastercard or an American Express logo, may contact their bank to log a dispute. Clients have the right to an immediate chargeback following the granting of the liquidation order”.

Nedbank customers can call 010 217 3001 or email CPOCardDisputes@nedbank.co.za for information.

Absa customers who booked Comair tickets via their cards can email disputes@absa.co.za to assist with the chargeback process.

“As with all chargeback requests, each matter is evaluated in line with the Visa and Mastercard chargeback rules,” said an Absa spokesperson.

FNB confirms that customers who purchased British Airways and Kulula tickets using the FNB and RMB Private Bank apps, eBucks or the eBucks Travel desk will be assisted through a dedicated refund process.

“Our customers who purchased their tickets directly from the affected airlines or a third-party travel agent can lodge a dispute through the SecureChat feature on the FNB and RMB Private Bank apps,” said an FNB spokesperson.

To avoid any delays in processing a refund, we encourage our customers to immediately upload a copy of their flight booking confirmation. Customers can chat to a SecureChat agent for further assistance.

The spokesperson added that customers who paid for flight tickets using third-party instant EFT services are advised to lodge a dispute directly with the airlines, as instant EFT payments cannot be reversed via the bank.

Discovery Bank announced that it would immediately refund Vitality clients affected by the Comair shutdown.

“Any Vitality member who is a Discovery bank client and booked a discounted flight departing from June 1 2022 onwards that has been cancelled due to this issue, Discovery bank will automatically refund the amount spent on that flight into the Vitality member’s Discovery bank account by close of business on June 10. This refund process is automatic, so no action is required from members.”

Affected Vitality members who are not Discovery bank clients can open a Discovery bank account by downloading the Discovery bank app before June 30 to facilitate the refund. Alternatively, they can process the refund through their own bank.

Standard Bank customers who want an update on refunds from Comair or would like to query their refunds can call 0861 20 1000 (main market), 0860 001 321 (prestige) and 0860 123 101 (private banking).

What happened?

The airline operator had been in business rescue since May 5 2020 due to the suspension of all travel during the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to a press statement, after entering business rescue, Comair was able to start flying again when the Comair Rescue Consortium (CRC) invested R500 million for a 99% share of the equity in the company at the time.

According to the company, further Covid-related air travel restrictions combined with the significantly higher fuel prices experienced in the past five months had a material negative impact on the business.

The CRC was only able to finance the impact of these events up to a certain point.

In March, Comair sold the Slow Lounge business to FNB in an attempt to raise more funds.

On June 9, the business rescue practitioners lodged a court application to convert the business rescue proceedings into liquidation proceedings.

In a press statement, one of the business rescue practitioners, Richard Ferguson, says that with its two airline brands – British Airways (operated by Comair) and Kulula – market share, modern aircraft fleet, experienced employees, and sales and distributions channels, Comair was an inherently viable business.

“We did our utmost to secure the funding, but when we were unable to do so, we had no option but to lodge the application. It is an extremely sad day for the company, its employees, its customers and South African aviation.”

CAA grounds BA, Kulula

Source: Simple Flying 

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) had initially suspended the air operator certificate for Comair for 24-hours as a precautionary measure, effectively grounding its fleet and affecting passengers using low-cost airline Kulula, as well as flights for British Airways.

Effective from 12 March, the SACAA made a sudden decision to suspend all the flights that affected several passengers, creating havoc in airports across South Africa. The snap suspension arose from the SACAA’s investigations into a number of safety incidents involving Comair and its airlines: low-cost subsidiary Kulula and British Airways in South Africa.

Still not safe to fly

Following the initial 24-hour suspension, the South African carrier was quick to rectify one of the operational issues raised as an effort to confirm its compliance with applicable Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs).

The quick response was due to Comair hoping to resume its flights by Sunday latest, but the hopes were promptly dashed as the initial suspension soon became indefinite the SACAA said they were pending resolution to various other issues. As SACAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said:

“As the documentation comes in, our inspectors are actually sitting and reviewing. They have worked for two nights flat with no sleep just going through [the evidence] because we do understand the inconvenience this causes to the public because from our side it’s important that there is business continuity. Last night we dispatched a letter to [Comair] in terms of all the evidence they have submitted [but] unfortunately we had to ask for additional evidence.”

This then once again prompted Comair to submit additional documentation as continued efforts to resume operations as soon as possible. This might take longer than the airline would like, as SACAA is looking to review more than just the airline’s compliance, but also its quality control and safety management systems.

Comair is not pleased

Obviously, the change from a 24-hour suspension to an indefinite suspension is not the least bit pleasing to Comair, which has been in business rescue since May 2020. On the other hand, the airline has thus far not used its entitlement to appeal the precautionary suspension, as according to Gwebu who added that:

“They have a right to appeal, in fact they have several avenues that they can actually pursue. As of now I’m not aware that they have appealed the decision.”

Considering that this is the third time since 2007 that Comair has been grounded due to safety concerns, and factoring in the SACAA’s findings on technical problems within the past month alone – which ranges from engine failures, engine malfunctions, and landing gear malfunctions, amongst others, it probably does not come as a surprise as to why the airline is choosing to not appeal.

The financial difficulties and probable lack of manpower or lack of technician training could have led to these technical problems, all the more a reason for the airline to not be pleased with the suspension as time on the ground is money not made. If anything, the only thing that airline can probably do right now is to continue showing its compliance, and providing whatever information it is that the SACAA requires, as Gwebu mentioned:

“If they meet the requirements we will uplift the suspension. At the heart of our mandate is to ensure that everyone is safe including the crew itself.”

Kulula flights stopped until September

Source: MyBroadband

Comair has extended the suspension of Kulula.com and British Airways flights until 31 August 2021, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that South Africa will remain on lockdown level 4.

Comair said the prohibition of all non-essential travel in and out of Gauteng means there is limited demand for business travel.

Comair suspended all scheduled flights from 5 July 2021 with the intention to start flying again on 30 July 2021.

However, given the uncertainty of the expected length of the recently adjusted level 4 lockdown, Comair decided to suspend flight operations until 31 August 2021.

“This decision has been taken in the interest of the well-being of employees and customers,” Comair said.

“Without Government engagement with or support for the aviation sector and associated services, the ability to plan constructively for a meaningful service beyond 30 July 2021 is exceptionally challenging.”

“Taking the potential variables into consideration, Comair plans to resume scheduled operations on Wednesday 1 September 2021.”

Comair CEO, Glenn Orsmond, apologised to customers affected by the suspension, adding that the decision was not made lightly.

Tickets for travel with Kulula.com from 28 June 2021 to 31 August 2021 will remain valid for 12 months until 31 August 2022. No change of booking fee or fare difference will be charged.


New South African airline will launch this year

By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband

South Africans have been invited to come up with a name for South Africa’s newest airline, which is expected to start flying by the end of the year.

The airline, which is a partnership between Kulula founder Gidon Novick and Global Aviation, is inspired by innovative tech-driven companies such as Uber.

“Similar to the way Uber has transformed the point-to-point mobility, there is a huge opportunity for the airline industry to rethink its relationship with passengers and be more customer-obsessed,” said Novick.

“The pandemic has created a unique opportunity to start an airline that is not only dramatically more efficient but also inventive and creative by tapping into the unique talent that our country offers.”

South Africans can visit brandnewairline.co.za to submit their suggestions and vote on their preferred name for the airline.

The new airline is being launched despite other established airlines facing significant troubles – both SAA and Comair are currently in the midst of business rescue proceedings.

However, Novick sees an opportunity brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic to re-look the traditional airline model – including a focus on technology.

“Technology has the ability to facilitate a seamless, efficient, and engaging relationship with our future customers,” said Novick.

Additionally, Novick noted that the pandemic has brought about the opportunity to acquire the important assets for an airline – including planes, facilities, and employees – at an affordable price.

By improving efficiency and cutting costs, Novick believes the airline can make major inroads into the airline industry.

Cost-cutting measures will include purchasing or leasing used aircraft to save money.

These aircraft will predominantly be narrow-body, single-aisle aircraft that seat about 180 people – such as the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.

Additionally, Novick said that it is “absolutely key” that the airline stays away from debt, and has confirmed that it will be funded through private capital instead.

This is because his experience in the industry showed him just how much damage debt can cause.

This new airline will start off with flights between OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport, and envisions that its first flight will take place in December 2020.

While this is a strong route for business travel, Novick does not believe that business travel will continue to be as strong as it was before the lockdown.

Instead, the new airline’s focus is on leisure travel, and it will leverage South Africa’s potential as a tourist destination.

Kulula owner Comair in business rescue

By Bonga Dlulane for EWN

Comair said that it had decided to enter voluntary business rescue because it wanted to ensure the long-term survival of the company.

The aviation company owns Kulula.com and is the local operator for British Airways.

Comair, like other airlines, stopped operating in March after government declared a national state of disaster as a result of COVID-19.

The country is currently under level four lockdown restrictions and airlines are expected to resume full domestic operations under level two.

Comair said that while its business model was sound, it’s been interrupted by the lockdown restrictions.

The company said it didn’t expect to be back in business before October or November this year.

It said the best way to ensure the long-term survival of the company was to implement a business rescue plan and see if a return to operations would be achievable once the restrictions are lifted.

The company said this decision was prudent and in the best interest of shareholders.

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