Airline group Comair says it will begin taking new bookings for Kulula from Monday (9 November), ahead of its planned take-off again on 1 December.
The Comair Rescue Consortium representative Glenn Orsmond said that a strong, competitive airline sector benefits everyone and the group will gradually start restoring its schedule and network.
“The re-introduction of Kulula flights on the domestic network is the first phase of Comair’s ramp-up to full operations over the next few months. British Airways domestic and regional flights will re-open soon, as will Kulula flights from Lanseria,” he said.
Orsmond said that Comair will initially operate a fleet of fifteen aircraft across both airline brands gradually increasing as the remainder of the fleet returns to service over the next few months.
Customers who booked tickets before Comair was placed in business rescue on 5 May will be able to utilise the value of their tickets through the Comair Travel Bank for future travel on Comair from mid-January onwards, the group said.
Discovery has also announced that Vitality members can now book Kulula flights using their membership.
While the Kulula booking platform has been live for several weeks for accommodation, car hire and select international flight bookings, the reintroduction of local air travel bookings is now also available.
Discovery said that Vitality members can make new bookings for domestic flights with kulula.com and international Emirates and Qantas flights through the Kulula website.
Members are able to save between 10% and 35% with early access to new domestic Kulula flight bookings on the kulula.com website before the platform opens to the country on Monday, 9 November.
British Airways flight bookings will open in due course, it said.
New local airline Lift will also open its website for bookings on Tuesday (10 November) as it prepares to officially begin operations on 10 December.
Founder Gidon Novick told the Sunday Times that the airline plans to offer flexibility to customers, as well as competitive pricing.
“Anyone who travels with us will have a fully flexible ticket and will be able to change their flight as many times as they want to without fees. Our hypothesis is that with that in mind, people will become more comfortable to book, and less anxious about travelling,” he said.
However, Novick said that the airline doesn’t plan to undercut competitors or start a race to the bottom: “We will focus our efforts on adding value, not cutting prices. We want to redefine the customer journey from start to finish,” he said.
Novick said that customers’ payments will be kept in a separate structure until after the flights are flown — to avoid them losing money in the event the airline goes bust. This is a departure from industry norms globally, he said.
“It’s our basic belief that customers should not fund airlines and neither should governments,” he said. “No rational argument has been put forward that gives anybody confidence that it is necessary to put money into SAA that should have been invested in social projects and health care.”