Comair is squealing about SAA's low cost carrier Mango. No surprise there. But it does raise an interesting point. Are we paying for Mango even if we are not flying Mango? After all, other low cost carriers had to do it without tax payers' money.

South African listed airline group Comair estimates that South African Airways's new low cost carrier Mango is costing taxpayers over R3-million a week.

Comair joint CEO Erik Venter based these calculations on an all inclusive cost of R60 000 per flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

"With their flights only 50% full, their revenue per flight won't even cover their fuel and maintenance costs," Venter said in a statement on Wednesday.

He went on to question how much SAA's attempt to "nationalise" the local aviation industry was ultimately going to cost South African taxpayers.

Eleven days ago, Comair requested an undertaking from SAA not to put any further capital into Mango following the R100-million that has already been sunk into the project. To date the undertaking has not been forthcoming, the statement said.

Even though Comair was able to run profitably from day one, Mango has indicated that it expects a two-year grace period in which to turn a profit, he noted.
full story from M&G here