A quality operation
There’s little need for further examples of the relative performance of private versus public sector operations, but the SA aviation sector elevates the argument to the level of caricature. While the Flying Springbok lurches from crisis to disaster, devouring unholy quantities of taxpayers’ hard-earned money, Comair goes quietly about its business, churning out profit after profit in a notoriously tough industry. It has diversified its business away from merely flogging up and down the major routes, but the airline business remains the largest contributor.
It is a real tribute to the quality of this operation that it continues to perform well despite a combination of headwinds that would have caused mayhem for a less competent player, and certainly did in the case of the national carrier. GDP growth hit the skids, the exchange rate was whirling around all over the place, fuel prices were up and the market was stuffed full of capacity, yet Comair’s airline business still turned in a solid performance. It continues to invest heavily in its fleet, and this will enable it to compete despite the tricky operating environment.
In the non-airline segment, Comair is investing to establish a training centre that will provide simulators for the pilots, as well as training for cabin crew, passenger handling and leadership training at a more senior strategic level. It continues to develop its lounge network, its catering unit and its travel business, as well as the technology solutions that are a key success factor across all its various niches.
It’s a high-quality operation that looks set to continue to thrive.
Comair is a high-quality operation that looks set to continue to thrive