South African Airways (SAA) has noted the judgement of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on 15 February 2019 in the matter between SAA and Comair. The legal dispute between the two airlines relates to commissions (override incentive agreements) paid to various travel agents between two periods: April 2000 and May 2001; as well as between June 2001 and March 2005, which was found to be prohibited practices and in contravention of the Competition Act, following which Comair sued SAA for damages.
Parties to the dispute were able to reach a settlement which was made an order of the court.
The finalisation of this case marks the conclusion of one of the disappointing legacy matters that dragged on for far too long and was overdue.
The current airline leadership at board and executive management level is committed to closing all legacy issues and to start on a clean slate. This case, was one of the unnecessary and yet protracted legal battles which only served to maximise risk exposure for the airline. The SAA/Comair dispute could and should have been handled differently.
The current SAA leadership will act decisively on matters that must finalised to ensure that there is mitigation against any possible liability that may arise from any legacy issues.
The finalisation of this matter is a deliberate decision by SAA, to clean up and focus on transforming the airline as it undertakes the journey towards financial sustainability. The airline must execute its strategy without being distracted by legacy issues in order to reach a break-even point by the end of financial year end 2021.
SAA is on track in implementing its turnaround strategy, it is making good progress and has already met a number of targets it has set in the implementation path.