Comair on Tuesday said it had launched an urgent application to prevent the Air Services Licensing Council (ASLC) from suspending it’s domestic license.
This was pending the outcome of a court review in relation to FlySAfair’s three-year long complaint against the airline’s foreign shareholding.
FlySAfair had lodged a complaint with the ASLC against Comair’s domestic air service license during the 2013/14 reporting period.
The complaint consisted of the allegation that the Comair had breached its air license by failing to apply for a license amendment after undertaking a share repurchase programme.
A second complaint was that when a “look through” construction was applied to Comair’s current foreign shareholding component, the amount of its shareholding slightly exceeded the restrictions specified in the Air Services Licensing Act.
Licensing requirements limit the foreign shareholding and voting right in domestic airlines to 25 percent.
Bidvest’s BB Investment Company is listed as Comair’s largest shareholder with a 26.91 percent stake, followed by Allan Gray with 12.9 percent and Britair with 11.5 percent.
In March, Comair was given until 11 May to comply with the conditions of its Air Services License, without which no airline is permitted to operate a commercial air service.
But Comair said it was confident that it was compliant with the foreign shareholding requirements of the Act based on the advice of its external legal advisors.
Comair, in a statement, said its view and that of its external legal advisors was that the ASLC had not commenced suspension proceedings in accordance with the Act.
“The company has requested the ASLC to agree that it has not commenced suspension proceedings in accordance with the Act, and has requested the ASLC to agree not to take any further action against the Company pending the outcome of a review of the ASLC’s decisions,” Comair said.
“The ASLC has failed to agree to the Company’s request. The Company has taken the precaution of launching an urgent application to interdict the ASLC from suspending the Company’s domestic license, pending the outcome of a review by a court of law.”
The squabbles between the two airlines date back when the low cost airline FlySAfair took to the skies to compete with Comair’s low-cost brand kulula.com.
A similar complaint put to the ASLC by Comair in 2013 to stop FlySAfair from operating was unsuccessful.
Comair on Tuesday stressed that the disagreement with the ASLC did not relate to the safety of its operations, but exclusively to a shareholder regulatory issue.
– Africa News Agency