A majority of Comair employees have voted to accept the new terms of employment outlined in the airline’s business rescue plan, thus fulfilling the first suspensive condition needed for the plan to be adopted and placing the airline one step closer to taking to the skies again.
On September 18 the Comair business rescue plan was adopted by 90% of creditors and shareholders in a vote. The implementation of the plan was contingent on a majority of employees, through their representative unions, concluding a collective agreement outlining amended terms of employment. Employees were asked to waive their right to claim for salary payments while the airline was grounded and to take an alleged 30% pay cut. The plan also outlined that another 400 jobs will be cut. Should a majority employee vote not have been achieved the airline would have been wound down with the airline’s remaining 1 800 employees all losing their jobs.
A Comair spokesperson confirmed that the collective agreement had been signed by the labour parties representing 50% + 1 of employees.
“We are very happy to hear this news as we have always had a great relationship with Comair and its employees. We need competitors domestically and Comair has been around long enough to create stability in the market,” said md of eTravel, Tammy Hunt. Founder and ceo of eTravel, Garth Wolff, added that he believed that Comair will boom when they restart in December, and the airline’s resumption of services was well-timed to take advantage of a recovering market, cheap oil prices and a buyer’s market for aircraft.
Md MEA for FCTG, Andrew Stark, said that the industry needed a very competitive domestic and regional airline network to rebuilt itself.
Head of supply for Club Travel, Sharon Schierhout, agreed that the industry needed as much competition as possible to entice travellers out of their homes with attractive prices. She said the effects of the pandemic were still being felt and said that despite the recent announcement that borders would reopen, domestic bookings were still likely to be the industry’s biggest earner over the next few months. She added that Comair’s independent funding also meant that any potential losses that the airline incurred were not funded by tax-payers’ money that could potentially have been put to better use elsewhere.
“Comair has always been a great airline that has been wonderfully run and staffed by fantastic employees. This is brilliant news for the industry! Not only do we need the extra competition locally but the market also really needs a full service domestic airline with an extensive network to service our busines- class travellers and the large market of BA Executive Club Card holders,” said director of XL International Travels, Marco Tomasicchio.