Comair has asked staff of rival 1Time, who lost their jobs when it went into liquidation last week, to forward their CVs to its recruitment officers.
The invitation was extended by status update on the company's Facebook page on Tuesday and has already received almost a hundred likes and dozens of positive comments.
Susan Van Der Ryst, Strategic Communications Manager for Comair, said Comair has been inundated with CV's from 1Time employees since the 1Time's liquidation was announced last Friday, and that the company had published the contact details for CV submissions o on its Facebook page to manage the unanticipated pool of applicants with industry-related skills.
"Comair would like to give 1Time employees the opportunity to be considered for available positions relevant to their experience, but unfortunately cannot guarantee any employment. Comair follows a rigorous recruitment and selection process and any vacancies will be filled in accordance with its Recruitment and Employment Equity policy," she said.
It's estimated that more than 500 1Time staff lost their jobs as a result of the liquidation.
Marius Croucamp, a spokesperson for trade union Solidarity, said any efforts to help workers who had lost their jobs find employment should be supported.
However, he added that there were "dim prospects" in the low cost airline industry, which is under pressure, and that he doubted many of those left unemployed by the liquidation would be able to find employment in the sector.
Asked whether Mango Airlines, planned to extend a similar offer, spokesperson for the airline Hein Kaiser said: "Mango always welcomes the interest of new talent in our business. However, we do not feel compelled to gain column centimetres by publishing a formal invitation."
Mango blamed for 1Time's demise
Shortly after news of 1Time's liquidation hit, Comair's chief executive Erik Venter said in a statement that 1Time's closure was "inevitable" due to the less efficient fleet it operated.
However, he said he was certain that "in the absence of state-subsidised Mango, 1Time would have made adequate profits to upgrade its fleet and be sustainable over the long term".
Venter pointed out that 10 of the 11 private airlines launched since the airline industry was deregulated in 1991 had failed.
Venter later also challenged Mango to publish its financial statements – something the company has not done since its inception six years ago.
Last month treasury granted ailing national air carrier South African Airways (SAA) a R5-billion surety, following a dramatic walkout staged by eight members of it's 11-person board.
The funding is widely believed to, in effect, subsidise its subsidiary low-cost airline, Mango, despite the harsh operating environment. Critics say the airline, which has posted billions of rands in losses since the 90s, is destined to fail.
Croucamp agreed that Mango had contributed to 1Time's downfall.
"If SAA and Mango were operating as one of these [low-cost] airlines – without a bailout – [1time] would not have gone down," he said. "It is in our view an unfair advantage."
But public enterprise minister Malusi Gigaba has dismissed such speculation, saying the allegations citing Mango as the cause of 1Time's demise are "serious in nature and designed to cause commercial harm to Mango as an entity, and by default the state".
Gigaba said his department was "disheartened" by the demise of 1Time and the subsequent job losses incurred. He said Mango remained an entity operating independently from its shareholder, SAA.
"What should be clear from this is that Mango did not benefit from any capitalisation or guarantee issued in favour of its parent company, SAA, and in this regard there could not have been a market-distorting effect as insinuated," he said.
1Time announced their plans to file for liquidation on November 2, barely two months after winning the World Travel Award as Africa's best low-cost airline for the fourth year in a row.
The airline company had filed for business rescue in August but, after a potential financier backed down, was advised that there were "no reasonable prospects of survival".