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Comair in new aerotech joint venture

Oct 25 2018 16:34

Private SA airline Comair [JSE:COM] and IT company Infinea have entered into a joint venture to launch a new SA aerotech company called Nacelle.

Comair operates under its low-fare airline brand,, as well as under the British Airways livery, as part of a license agreement.

The new company will provide digital solutions aimed at delivering a seamless passenger experience.

According to Amanda Mocellin, CEO of Nacelle, a competitive market is forcing players to compete with ever more innovative and cost-effective ways of attracting and maintaining a customer base.

She said the need for new and creative adjacent revenue streams are becoming a priority for many airlines, airports and property organisations.

“Passengers have changed, and they are demanding a seamless experience. Industry trends and customer demands usually end up on the plate of the in-house technology department, who are further constrained by decreasing budgets, more stringent regulatory and governance requirements and dwindling resources,” she said.

Erik Venter, CEO of Comair, added that: “like most industries, technology plays a pivotal role in our business. That’s why we’ve decided to spin off our IT budget and team into a separate entity that will provide a variety of IT related services, which will include the commercialisation of our intellectual property".

Fred Baumhardt, CEO of Infinea, said Nacelle is forging partnerships with property and airside management providers, parking companies, and aviation technology specialists with a view of bringing into Africa leading inexpensive aviation platforms and solutions and supporting them locally, whilst empowering local engineers with global skillsets.

* Venter recently wrote an open letter to an open letter attached from Erik Venter, CEO of Comair, to the company’s customers and other stakeholders regarding flight delays.

"Comair holds itself to highest standards of performance and won’t compromise on safety. The delays are a result of problems with the scheduling of maintenance and challenges with logistics at SAA Technical, which maintains the aircraft of Comair’s two airline brands, and those of other local airlines," stated Venter.

"We are actively working with our internal and external stakeholders to address the underlying causes of the delays."

As far as possible, Comair has moved all major maintenance requirements overseas. Comair has also, with Lufthansa Technik (LHT), initiated registration of an Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO), with the objective of moving Comair’s new aircraft deliveries directly to LHT AMO as they arrive in SA.

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