South Africa’s Comair acquires Star Air


South African carrier Comair has acquired South African leasing and cargo specialist Star Air, as part of its continuing strategy of diversification.

Comair—which is a British Airways franchisee and has its own LCC brand, Kulula—said in a stock market filing that it had “acquired the assets to extend its diversification strategy into the leasing of aircraft, while also providing Comair with the expertise and systems to establish a base for heavy maintenance checks on its fleet of [Boeing] 737-800 aircraft.”

Star Air SAC is a Part 121 carrier, focusing on the wet, dry or damp leasing on short- to medium-term leases to African airlines. The company also provides aircraft maintenance requirements for its own fleet as well as for third-party aircraft.

Comair said it is paying ZAR75 million ($5.1 million) for Star, plus profit share payments up to a maximum of ZAR250 million.

The deal is scheduled to be finalized July 1, unless Star Air’s board decides otherwise.

Comair has a fleet based on Boeing 737-400s and -800s. It has eight 737 MAX 8s on order, of which one had been delivered before the March worldwide grounding of the type. The MAX 8s are destined to replace the -400s. Star Air has a small fleet of 737-300s, in both passengers and freighter configurations.

Former Star Air CFO Glenn Orsmond was appointed co-CEO of Comair in May 2019, following the resignation of longtime CEO Erik Venter. Orsmond will become responsible for Comair’s non-airline business and financial services, while Wrenelle Stander will look after the airline side of the business. Stander is an executive director of Comair; Venter will stay on until the handover date of July 31.



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