Sun Air goes belly up

The domestic airline Sun Air, operating between Johannesburg and Cape Town, was liquidated on Tuesday and all flights have been cancelled until further notice, the managing director said.

Rowald Kresfelder said the airline was liquidated at 5pm after suffering losses and developing a cash flow problem during the past four months.

“We had a bad December, January and February and that caused the problem,” he said.

All flights had been cancelled and the airline would remain dormant until a new investor could be found. It is the second time Sun Air has gone belly up. The first time was in 1999 when it was run by British Airways/Comair.

At that stage South African Airways wanted to buy a 75% stake in the airline. The other 25% would have been owned by British Airways/Comair.

SAA however withdrew its offer for the majority stake and Sun Air died a quiet death.

In March 2002 it was revived with two aircraft and two flights a day between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The new Sun Air catered for business executives and operated from the much quieter Lanseria airport north of Johannesburg, as opposed to Johannesburg International Airport in Kempton Park.

Sun Air tried to establish a niche market, according to the then managing director Johan Botha.

Sun Air’s trademark was its red leather seats on the two DC 9-32 planes and Botha was confident that the airline would prosper. Its owners were Airquarius Contracts and Million Air Charter.

On Tuesday Kresfelder said the liquidation was “devastating” for the airline’s 40 employees. - Sapa

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