Friday, 19 June 2015

Hubs, narrowbodies, network and price,- The Turkish option.

I’ve been a frequent, if somewhat reluctant, transfer passenger at Istanbul for a few years now. For a couple of my usual destinations from Copenhagen such as Baku or Cairo it more or less makes sense when coming from northern Europe if a direct flight is impossible, but for my most recent travel to Accra it patently does not, unless ticket price is the number one consideration over travel time (approx 15 hour chock-to-chock schedule as opposed to around 10 hours via Amsterdam, London or Frankfurt). If it was my own money, I would (and indeed have) paid the extra for the better transit time.

Turkish airlines ‘short haul’ and economy class themselves are no better or worse than most others operating in Europe, although you do get a fairly good meal, at least compared to the packet of peanuts that you would be lucky to receive on one of the European ‘full service’ carriers. Seat sizes vary depending on aircraft type. On this round trip of 4 Turkish flights I get to try the A321, B737-900ER (twice), and the A330. The 737 offers the most personal space, the A330 the least (I type this on the A330. It is physically impossible to open the laptop on my own tray table, luckily I have a spare seat next to me so am sitting sideways and using belonging to that. The northbound 737 last night from Accra had the novelty of having seats that did not recline, so while opening a laptop would have been possible had I wanted to work at 2am, a few extra degrees of  nocturnal recline was not available .You obviously cannot have it all, at least not all at the same time.  
 And so to Istanbul. The transfer itself is straightforward when coming from Europe, in that you do not have to go through security or passport control. Coming from Accra, Baku and Cairo (and presumably any other place where the security arrangements are considered by Istanbul to be dubious), you do have to go through security, which can be a long process given the high volume of transfer passengers. Coming from Copenhagen however you are simply herded up to departures and are then free to recover from your last flight and prepare for your next one. In my case, economy class or not, thanks to my Star Alliance gold card this means heading for their excellent, very large, but often still crowded lounge.

Getting to the lounge is tricky though. Not that it is difficult to find, but because Istanbul airport is crowded.  Turkish proudly advertises that it flies to more destinations than any other airline and it shows. The ramp is crowded with A320s and B737s wingtip-to-wingtip, more often than not on remote gates that require buses. Most of the passengers are not flying to or from Istanbul but in transit between 2 other places. Like the “new” Gulf majors that’s what their business model is all about. Inside the terminal, expanded from the copper-roofed polygon I remember from holidays in Turkey in the late 1980s, the masses of transit passengers are loitering, being fed, or getting lost trying to find their next flight. Even the vast, 2-level Turkish Airlines lounge, reputedly the largest in the world, is often very busy, with passengers shuffling between the various different food and drink ‘stalls’ and trying to find a suitable place to sit. The facility itself is great, with good and plentiful things to eat and drink, masses of natural light (though no view of the ramp for the plane spotters) and all laid out in a Grand Bazaar style. I’m just not sure it is meant to feel like the Grand Bazaar in terms of the number of people in it.

 If however you are lucky enough to secure a spot on one of the sofa-type things then you are going to have a reasonable time while you wait.
Next up is getting your next flight. As most gates require buses, boarding typically starts an hour before scheduled departure, and in general is completed on time. However you then hit another feature of Istanbul’s capacity problem. You cannot take off. Typically you face a half hour delay on chock time, followed by 15 – 30 minutes before you actually start flying. This must cause a hub-and-spoke system quite some stress. Turkish seem to schedule about an hour turnaround at their destinations, so if they are close to an hour late on arrival they need to be pretty sharp to get back to their Istanbul hub in time. They do seem to have taken this into account with their schedules, which to put it politely are somewhat generous.  The Istanbul – Copenhagen leg is scheduled at 3 hours 20 whereas the flight time is 2 hours 45. Likewise the schedule for the legs to and from Accra add 30 minutes to the actual flight time.

Once finally lining up to take off, you may then get to experience a very interesting use of runways…

My flight was due to depart from 17R. About 1 in 4 departures are on that runway. The other 3 in 4 were from 35L – that’s  the opposite end of the same runway.
Simultaneously, Runway 05 was being used for arrivals. From experience at Istanbul it is fairly normal to use 05 for arrivals and 35L for departures, but the use of 17R as well is unusual and it would appear to the casual observer potentially quite hazardous. Taking off from 17R requires a gap both in departures from 35L and in arrivals onto 05, as the threshold for 05 is very close to the far end (ie the ‘35L end’) of 17R.
In addition a rise in the middle of 17R /35L means that one end is not visible from the other. No room for a mistake by ATC there. I’d be interested to know why both ends of the same runway are in use. Would it not be simpler and more fail-safe for southbound aircraft such as ours to do a U-Turn after take-off, rather than take off towards the south? The only reason I can think of is that the queue for 35L was getting so long that it was backing onto the apron, and so a few aircraft were directed over to the other end to relieve the pressure by expediting their departures.

Go to link https;//   for pictures of:

1) Waiting near the end of 17R.
2) Turning onto 17R to take off. Note the hill meaning the opposite (35L) end is not visible.
3) After take off from 17R. A couple of plane are visible under the leading edge of the wing waiting to take off from 35L, and the threshold of 05, being used for arrivals.

Finally there’s the question of how far people are willing to fly on a narrow body. The Istanbul – Accra leg is flown by the 737-900ER, and takes close to 7 hours. It does feel like a long way to fly in a small-ish aircraft, but it’s not intrinsically worse than flying in a wide body in my book. Turkish relies on the ‘pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’ model and it seems that for the majority of its passengers the ticket price is far more important than the width of the tube in which they will be sitting.  The 737 is noticeably bumpier over the Sahara when compared to a larger wide body with more weight and size mass but not to the point of discomfort. More importantly the narrow bodies are usually full, which would imply the either need either to increase frequencies or go for larger aircraft.  Given Istanbul’s runway capacity issue, bigger aircraft would appear to be the only way to go right now.
Turkish Airlines and the Istanbul hub no doubt make sense in a lot of cases .Firstly when ticket cost is the primary driver, as this trip was approximately half the cost of the next-lowest bidder (KLM, BA and Lufthansa, who all had similar higher prices). It also makes sense when there is no direct flight and Istanbul is in a logical direction . My previous transits from Copenhagen to Baku or Cairo fall into this category.  But when flying from north west Europe to west Africa  I’d not choose to go this circuitous way if the decision was mine.

Footnote: On arrival in Copenhagen I found my check in bag was still in Istanbul. Obviously it takes about an hour after landing to figure out that no, yours is not going to arrive. Then you fill out all the forms, queue to hand them in and get a reference number and so on.  Yes, other airlines have lost my baggage too, but especially after an extended journey time it’s the last thing you need.

-Andrew Woodrow-

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

African Roundup April May 2015

Further talks on the creation of Air Cemac, a putative successor to Air Afrique, have been abandoned. This may well see the ghost of Air Afrique finally laid to rest but one can never be sure.  Air Afrique, established in 1960, ceased operations in 2002 It was designed as an element of France’s African decolonislation programme aimed to give newly independent former French colonies a share of the cake including on the lucrative Paris routes while carefully ensuring that Air France remained dominant.  The French carrier held 17% of the shares and the 11 newly independent states held 6% each.  The management difficulties were profound as each country vied for national preference, staff numbers swelled, and escalating cash problems just got worse. Had these latest talk succeeded Air Cemac would have looked startlingly familiar. Air France was to be the major shareholder and 6 states would have held 5% each. Almost certainly the problems,- and the eventual result,- would also have been similar.

Trying to re-creating failed carriers in almost their previous form is a rotating feature of sub-Saharan Africa. Usually missing though is the realization that the new entities, their governance and what they did would have to be very different from the originals. Examples include Cameroon Airlines being replaced with Camair-Co, Ivory Coast replacing Air Ivoire with Air Côte d’Ivoire and Malawi with new Malawian Airlines. All are near mirror images of their failed predecessors,– small fleets, small networks ,an unchanged business philosophy always struggling with poor capitalization and inadequate revenue flows with little real chance of improvement without greatly increased investment. But then for most just where is there for them to go? 

Fastjet and FlyAfrica aim to break out of these failing models. They offer refreshing new ways of doing business but they face underlying national hostilities to and distrust of things foreign. These things are remain powerful obstacles. Both still face a long slog to actually get the necessary traffic rights they urgently need to reach the essential critical mass of networks and frequencies. Meanwhile travel around Africa, while improving, is as ever, hobbled by lack of new city pairs and frequencies. Chicken and egg questions abound.  If Fastjet and others can not break the mould then others will not be encouraged to follow in their footsteps.

Fastjet’s communications are excellent. They publish clear objectives and some useful figures and radiate an optimistic stance. Getting from intention to aircraft on the ramp though is another matter. Despite the Presidential exchanges which saw Tanzania drop its restrictions on Kenya Airways in a matter of days, Kenya remains silent on the Tanzanian company’s perfectly legitimate reciprocal application to operate into Nairobi.

Kenya Airways, largely free of Kenya Government involvement in its affairs since its privatization is now being drawn back towards the governmental flypaper. Its recent declining operational performance and operating losses of 2013 and 2014 and need for new money have opened the way to parliamentary scrutiny and, if politicians and civil servants get their way, ongoing involvement.

The vehicle used to achieve this is a Parliamentary Senate Select Committee which will inquire into the airline’s business model and financing since 1996, the year of privatization when KLM took a 26% shareholding. Until recently the airline has created and ridden the momentum of a growth strategy and been conspicuously successful. The Kenya Government continues to be the largest single shareholder with 29.8 similar to KLM’s but it does not own the airline.

Lately some things have gone a bit awry. The West African ebola outbreaks have badly hit business on that side of the continent and security incidents in Kenya have made people think twice about visiting the country or even transiting Nairobi airport. The fleet has taken on a bit of a lopsided look too with the addition of over- large 777-300s rather than a larger number of smaller aircraft to spread the network and the downside risks. Disposing of all the 777s will at least make the 787 in all its models the standard widebodied vehicle. The -8 in particular looks like the trans-Africa dream machine, offering the right numbers of seats and useful cargo capacity. As we have pondered before, can the narrowbodied 737-900 really hold its own on the long 6-7 hour sectors in the medium/long term. They are acceptable if there is no option but when there is it could be game over.

Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s fastest growing airline, adds Gaborone and Cape Town in June. Next up will be an eastern spoke to Manila via Bangkok from July as the network continues to expand its already dominant position on the continent taking its international destinations to 86.

A byproduct of Ethiopian reaching further into southern Africa is that Air Botswana’s role as a feeder of international traffic over Johannesburg will be under more pressure. Its recent codeshare deal on Kenya Airways flights to Nairobi will also take a hit. Again this is a small carrier with a small fleet and small network and with government the sole shareholder.  Its home market, Gaborone is tiny, just 350,000 residents. Success with a new 5 year plan including fleet renewal will be challenging.

Another small carrier facing difficulties is Korongo Airlines, the 2012 DRC start up, a joint venture involving Brussels Airlines and local investors. Startup was delayed for 2 years awaiting local regulatory clearances.  Initially operating with HS146s it now flies a single
B737-300. Based in Lubumbashi the network covers just Kinshasa and Mbuji Mayi plus Johannesburg.  Now it is facing the almost inevitable revenue and cash flow problems and is seeking external financing.  Shareholder Brussels Airlines is sticking by their policy of no further cash injections. Where does it go now?


Ethiopian Airlines is as seen from the above is as active as ever. It will switch westbound Toronto and Washington flight refuelling stops from Rome to Dublin although it currently has no traffic rights across the Atlantic from Ireland. The eastbound flights will in any case operate nonstop across the Atlantic to Addis Ababa so any business would be one way only.

On 21st April the airline extended three weekly B787 Hong Kong frequencies to Tokyo and in July will serve manila similarly with B767-300s. The difference is that Manila is a short ninety minute sector which can be done cheaply in a single crew duty day. Additionally if traffic rights can be obtained there is a lot of low yield but high excess baggage local labour traffic available. 

Fastjet has been awarded an Air Service Permit by Zimbabwe. That doesn’t mean that flying now starts without further ado. The next step is to apply for an AOC application is the next step.  Domestic Harare-Victoria Falls and Bulawayo services are likely to precede international routes. Existing Dar es Salaam - Harare services are operated by Fastjet Tanzania.

The airline has raised US$74m additional funding to meet ‘ongoing operational costs’ and fleet expansion by one or two aircraft plus the establishment of new companies in Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Jambojet added a leased Q400 to serve coastal points Lamu,Malindi and Ukunda.  Its current fleet is 3 former Kenya Airways’ B737-300s.

The company then received a court order to cease operating these following an unhelpful claim by KALPA (Kenya Airline Pilots Assosciation) that it does not hold an independent AOC. Again one has to wonder whether for Kenya Airways setting up and running an arms length low cost carrier is worth doing. It has previously dabbled in a nominal separate low cost carrier (Kenya Flamingo), cargo venture (Kencargo) and Nairobi ground handling agent (KAHL-Kenya Airways Handling Limited) but none, each with its own Board, seem to have justified their “separateness”. Being able to call ones business a Group makes for nice titles but adds rather than reduces layers of management and the complexity and cost of corporate reporting.

Kenya Airways. The plan is to retire the B777-200 and B777-300 fleets. The last 777-200 operated on 18 May and the last 777-300 flight is scheduled for 26 Sep.  Future focus will be on additional B787 variants more suited to juggling demand levels which tend to rise and fall depending on perceived regional insecurity issues and more recently West African ebola scares. The latter have badly affected American tourist traffic to Kenya. Many potential American tourists tend to be geographically unaware and view all of Africa as one entity.
The airline’s US$105m loss and operational shortcomings have led to a US$43m Government loan. As above, the price paid for this in terms of government involvement/interference could be high. It is not a good development.

National Airways (Ethiopia) .This is a proposed start-up dependent on the anticipated liberalization of air services. Two EMB145s are mentioned as the initial fleet.

Precision Air (Tanzania) has added Tabora, with a new tarmac runway, as a 10th domestic point.  With an ATR fleet incapable of competing effectively with Fastjet’s A319 fleet, Precision’s business model now sensibly focuses on domestic airports too small for the jet. Located in the centre of Tanzania, Tabora has a long aviation history. It was an en route point on Imperial Airways UK-South Africa landplane services before WW2, and on Sabena’s weekly DC 3 service from the Congo to Dar es Salaam in the 1950s.
Rwandair is benefitting from Airbus’ ability to give early delivery slots for current model A330s as it tries not to wind down ahead of new A330neo production.  An MoU has been signed with Airbus for two to be delivered late in 2016.
SouthEast Airlines (Kenya), a low cost carrier, has ceased operations. Flying since late 2014 with a single CRJ100 just a once per day on the Nairobi-Mombasa route it was no competitive match for Kenya Airways baby JamboJet with its multiple frequencies and greater resources.


Air Botswana. A new 5 year plan calls for fleet renewal involving jets and turbo-props with capacity up to 100 seats. The current fleet is 2 RJ85s, 3 ATR42-500s and a single ATR72-500. The airline, like many others of its size and restricted opportunities continues to struggle to define what it should really be and do.

Air Cemac. Shareholder governments have abandoned the project. Like several others in former Air Afrique federal carrier territory it was originally conceived to take over part of the multi country airline’s network,- in this case in French Central Africa which is a much more northerly area that the one called Central Africa by the colonial British. The allocated funds of US$17m have been exhausted to no avail.

Air Namibia. State cash provision will continue beyond the 2014 ‘Turnaround Strategy’ 2016/17 deadline. The 3 year Government budget provides US$163m of “support”. That would be called “life support” in the health industry .The question will still remain as to how it can be genuinely viable beyond that time. If nationalistic politics could be pushed aside, it would be talking to Air Botswana.
Air Zimbabwe is forecasting US$80m revenue for 2015, up by 120%, as its nominal ‘turnround strategy’ unfolds.  This unfolding hasn’t though yet secured the release of two A320s which continue to be held by SAA Technic pending payment of maintenance bills.
The Minister of Transport, Obert Mpofu, says the airline requires three small jets, plus two 737-500s,(cheap to buy but its low capacity pushes up its seat mile cost) and two B787s.The total  cost of US$770m plus US$298m to service debts in order to re-establish itself and become viable is the problem . The Minister admits that “it is not conceivable that Government can inject the required capital” but what strategic investor is going to want to take on responsibility  and the interest payments hanging over from historic debts?  The airline has in the distant past been be profitable. It is more fortunate than Air Botswana in that its core long haul route to London can work especially with the low capacity, low seat mile cost B787-8 or even for the time being two high quality fully refurbished B767-300s if they could be found. The same probably applies to Air Namibia’s Windhoek-Frankfurt route. Again time for some real cross border thinking and talking?

Comair as previously reported the company was the successful bidder for the St Helena Government tender so will operate between Johannesburg and St Helena with B737-800 when the new airport opens early in 2016. This is a 7 year deal. The franchised BA brand will be used. It is also reported that an airline calling itself Atlantic Star will operate “charter” flights to Britain.

Congo Airways (DRC), this new national carrier whose AOC issue is pending is expecting the delivery of two A320s and a Q400 for a 30 June launch of services based on Kinshasa and Goma.  Air France Consulting is providing assistance .

EC Air (Congo Brazzaville) has a leased B757-200 was seized in Paris by a Congolese businessman claiming outstanding government payments but subsequently released. Presumably a cheque arrived.

EC Air will launch twice weekly Brazzaville-Beirut B757 services on 3rd June. This complements existing Paris and Dubai B757 longer haul routes. (Namibia) has received a Foreign Carrier permit from Namibia’s CAA and plans to start up using two 737-500s from Windhoek to Johannesburg and to Cape Town. (South Africa) is indicating Mozambique, Malawi, and Gabon together with Benin and Chad as target bases in addition to its existing one in Zimbabwe. Approvals for Namibia and Zambia services to/from Johannesburg remain pending.

Korongo Airlines (DRC) This 2012 joint venture Brussels Airlines/DRC Govt /Congolese private investors is seeking additional capital. The single B737-300 serves only Kinshasa-Mbuji Mayi and Johannesburg.

Malawian Airlines is planning to add a leased 30 seat aircraft in June to its fleet in June so as to expand domestics services to include Mzuzu, Karonga and Likoma Island and to reduce capacity on the thin Mozambique routes to Tete, Beira and Nampula for which the current Q400 is too big.
Unfortunately the addition of another solo aircraft type makes the operation look even more like its predecessor the now defunct Air Malawi. Planned for July are  routes from Lilongwe to Nairobi and Victoria Falls.
Proflight (Zambia) aims to fly Lusaka-Busanga (Kafue National Park) twice weekly from July using a J41.
SAA Final revisions to the 2013 Long Term Turnround Strategy are to be completed by 30 April. Then should follow a revived push on implimentation. If it doesn’t, the temporary CEO could be very temporary. The Interim Board’s approved life has been extended for 6 months pending the appointment of a new full-time successor.
To add to its woes the airline now faces a US$ 82m claim that it was responsible for the 1999 collapse of Sun Air.
The suspended CEO Monwabisi Kalawe has agreed to US$230K package in exchange for his resignation.
The airline has pledged a three year total US$840m procurement spend within the local black business community.  Clearly acknowledging some fears, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry has given assurances that “this will not be an opportunity for corrupt deals”.
As part of a plan to strengthen its US and West African services SAA is to substitute Accra for Dakar on the Johannesburg-Washington route. It will have 5th freedom rights beyond Accra on the thrice weekly A340-600s. To help with feed from West Africa a codeshare has been agreed with Ghanaian Africa World Airlines.  The thrice weekly Johannesburg to Dakar flights will continue but not proceed across the Atlantic.


Air Côte d’Ivoire has confirmed options for 2 new Q400s. This will bring the total in of this type in the fleet to 4.
Arik Air (Nigeria) is thinking about establishing a hub in Cotonou, connecting to nine regional destinations. 
The CRJ1000 has been launched on regional services. The fleet now includes 4 CRJ900s. 
Meanwhile the Dubai route has been suspended after just nine months. The Nigerian economy is blamed but competition from the Emirates and Etihad products is the most likely reality.
ASKY (Togo) is seeking US$50-60m investment to ‘strengthen operations’ on its West/Central African network. A further 4 B737-800s are envisaged over the next 5 years.  Johannesburg and Beirut services are planned for later this year.

Things appear less than happy in the Head office though. CEO Yissehak Tewolde appointed by 40% shareholder, Ethiopian Airlines, has resigned suddenly for ‘personal reasons’. Henok Teffera the new appointee was previously Ethiopian Head of Strategy and Alliances. The 5 year Ethiopian management contract expired in January and there has been silence about its renewal.

Camair-Co has taken delivery of the second and third out of three 3 MA60s ordered in 2012.

 More significantly the carrier also acquire additional jet aircraft: a B767 for the route and 3 B737-300/400s to expand regional flying. The reported current operating loss is US$2.5 a month.

Discovery Air (Nigeria) anticipates getting its AOC back after a “Financial Health Audit”. This follows a 3 months suspension.
Goldstar Airlines (Ghana) This start-up has leased a MD-11, B747-300 and a B767-300 but still awaits the granting of an AOC. The fleet choice looks unusual, unpromising even.

Senegal Airlines. Escalating debt, now US$75m, has prompted Government (36% shareholder) to target early privatization but who would buy? Short term action includes a 40% staff cut to 140 plus a 40% pay cut. The current fleet is a single A320-200 and a Q400.


Afriqiyah has leased 2 A330s to Turkish Airlines.
Air Algerie has taken delivery of the first of three A330-200s.The airline is to increase its fleet by 16 aircraft to 59 by the end of 2016 with regional route expansion supporting a planned long haul route to New York. 

Royal Air Maroc launched ATR72 hops across the water from both Tangier and Casablanca to Gibraltar on 29th March.

The next move is hoped to be E190 services to Praia via Isla do Sal. Beyond that a joint venture with Qatar Airways is planned with codeshares opening a wide network eastwards from Doha. The North African carrier will fly thrice weekly B787s between Casablanca and Doha alongside Qatar’s daily offerings. Plans for a direct route to Beijing will be dropped. Membership of Oneworld, of which Qatar is a member, is now favoured over Star Alliance.


Air China will launch thrice weekly Beijing to Johannesburg B777-300 schedules from June. They replace SAA who abandoned the route on 28th March as part of its Turnaround Strategy.  

Air France is bringing Freetown back online three times a week from 30th June.

China Southern is aiming to launch Guangzhou – Nairobi flights this summer. Another headache for Kenya Airways.

Fly Dubai. June sees Zanzibar frequency doubled from two to four weekly. Juba and Bujumbura are also to get increased capacity. Although related to Emirates, the two airlines operate entirely separately, each with its own staff and equipment. Connections between FlyDubai and other carriers at Dubai are not easy. Fly Dubai operates from the Low Cost terminal on the eastern side of the airport whereas Emirates and virtually all other airlines fly from the glitzy terminals on the west side. FlyDubai focuses primarily on point to point business and offers a low cost product.

Lufthansa is to re-enter the Kenya market after a long absence with a winter only A340-300 service to Nairobi. Until the advent of the 747-400 in the 1990s Nairobi was an essential daily technical call on most European carriers’ routes to Johannesburg. Once that was no longer needed Lufthansa flew nonstop to both Johannesburg and Nairobi, using A300/310s  for the latter. The loads though didn’t justify continuing the route so the Kenyan capital was dropped from the network and the beach holiday traffic to Mombasa was served direct by Condor and other tour operator charters.

Generally seasonal services to Nairobi have aimed at the summer European tourist trade. This one, which does not overlap with the Serengeti/Mara animal mass migration appears to target the winter business and coastal leisure markets. The latter requires a seamless international to Mombasa domestic connection at Nairobi and this would require full co-operation from Kenya Airways and the Kenya Airports Authority. Even for Kenya Airways own connecting passengers it has been a sore point for decades. Having to push a baggage trolley across a busy and poorly lit road is nobody’s definition of seamless.

Qatar Airways is on track to launch a five times weekly Doha-Kilimanjaro-Zanzibar-Doha triangle A320 in June.

Turkish Airlines continued its African expansion in May with a Istanbul-Ougadougou-Bamako B737-900 route. Next addition will be the extension of some Johannesburg services to Maputo in October.


Burundi: Kenya Airways, Brussels Airlines and Rwandair temporarily suspended  lights to Bujumbura after a military coup attempt.

Chad’s Government is looking at replacing its single B737-300 carrier Tournai Air Chad with a new national carrier. It isn’t clear how they propose to improve its fortunes. Staff cuts and allied cost reductions perhaps?

Côte d’Ivoire has received its ‘US Transport Security Administration’ approval’ for direct USA flights from Abidjan.

South Africa The High Court has rejected a case lodged by Comair that the regular ‘state guarantees’ given to SAA are in fact subsidies to avoid liquidation, things which would need full parliamentary approvals.  They unsuccessfully asked for Government’s recent action to be declared unconstitutional and unlawful. The outcome was perhaps predictable although Comair must have thought the cost of the case worth a try even if only as a warning shot to try to at least limit similar assistance to the future. When the chips are down the Government is unlikely to let SAA go out of business in almost any circumstances.

John Williams

31 May 2015