The Competition Commission of South Africa says it has noted the announcement made by Comair to effectively suspend all British Airways and kulula.com flights with immediate effect, a decision which will significantly reduce capacity in the domestic air travel and reduce competition.
Comair, which owns kulula.com and operates British Airways locally under a licence agreement, suspended its flights on Tuesday night, pending securing funding to resume operations.
In a statement on Thursday, Competition Commission spokesperson, Siyabulela Makunga, said the commission on Wednesday met separately with the leadership of major airlines, Lyft, FlySafair, Airlink and the South African Airways (SAA).
The meeting came after the commission raised concern about the impact of Comair’s decision on air ticket prices. It sought to understand how capacity could be brought to the market to mitigate the impact of the decision.
“Specifically, the commission sought to prevent any possible price gouging emanating from the supply shock.
“The commission was encouraged by the positive response of all the airlines in this respect, as they acknowledged the need to bring in more capacity in the market and committed not to change their pricing methodologies to exploit the situation,” Makunga said.
He said all parties further acknowledged the challenges posed by the rising fuel prices, which will further put pressure on the cost of air travel.
The commission said it will continue to monitor the situation.