Air Zimbabwe suspended operations on 02-Jul-2012 following the grounding of its single Boeing 737 for maintenance checks, according to a Radio VOP report. Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls services were resumed in May-2012 after their suspension in Feb-2012 due to debts and industrial action.
Air Zimbabwe suspends operations
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Competition intensifies in South Africa as FlySafair breaks Comair-South African Airways duopoly
Competition has again intensified in the South African domestic market with the launch and expansion of FlySafair. The new LCC launched services in Oct-2014 and is already competing on five of South Africa’s main routes.
The South African market has contracted since the 2012 collapse of 1time and Velvet Sky. The consolidation left Comair and South African Airways (both of which have full service and budget brands) with a duopoly, leading to a significant improvement in profitability.
As another new LCC, Skywise, also prepares to launch there is now a risk the South African domestic market could quickly swing back to overcapacity. New pan-African LCC groups fastjet and flyafrica.com, which are already competing in the regional international market, also continue to look at entering South Africa’s dynamic domestic market.
HNA/Hainan Airlines buys 6.2% of South Africa's Comair, accelerating China-Africa aviation links
China's expansive HNA Group, including flagship carrier Hainan Airlines, is continuing its international acquisition strategy with a USD13 million investment for a 6.2% stake in South Africa's Comair, which operates a full-service brand under a British Airways franchise and a low-cost carrier, Kulula. Uniquely to recent airline acquisitions, Comair is well-run and profitable. The purchase has been made for less than half the cost of a narrowbody jet, making it perhaps relatively inexpensive.
The synergies between the parties are unclear. Comair does not fly outside of southern Africa while HNA no longer flies to Africa – and if it did, it probably would not need an investment stake to work with Comair, which is generally open to partnerships. HNA is an investor in Ghana's Africa World Airlines, but there are no network links (yet) between that airline and Comair.
The investment comes after HNA and Air China are understood to have looked at investing in South African Airways, although this was too politically difficult. Africa is a new theme for Chinese aviation, with growing air routes, airport infrastructure projects and placement of Chinese aircraft to African airlines and governments.