• British Airways, kulula.com, Mango and SAA flights can now be changed at no extra fee due to coronavirus. 
  • FlySafair, meanwhile, said it will be offering consumers refunds if they were travelling overseas but are now unable to do so. 
  • Embattled SAA cancelled 162 regional and international flights on Tuesday in light of new travel restrictions. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

* This story was updated with new information on 18 March. 

Comair, which operates British Airways and kulula.com in South Africa, and state-owned South African Airlines (SAA) and its subsidiary Mango Airlines have waived flight changes fares, and kulula.com clients can claim full refunds, in light of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, competitor FlySafair said it is offering consumers refunds who were seeking to travel overseas but who are no longer able to do so as a result of the pandemic.

Also read: These airlines, big in SA, now offer free ticket changes due to Covid-19

SAA, which is currently undergoing business rescue procedures, on Tuesday cancelled 162 regional and international flights due to reduced demand, and travel registrations. State-owned SAA Express also suspended all its flights. 

Several international airlines, including Qatar, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines, have started offering consumers free cancellations or flight changes as novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, spreads globally.

The International Air Transport Association anticipates that the coronavirus will cost airlines  $113 billion in revenue loss as people cancel or scale down travel.

Comair told Business Insider South Africa that it is aware that travel plans might change due to the virus and would, therefore, aim to increase flexibility for its customers.

Flight rebooking fees are therefore waved for flights until the end of March, but a fare difference may apply, it said. 

Meanwhile, SAA has reversed its previous position, and is now offering one free change of booking on flights. The rebookings must be before 30 April, for flights before 30 September. 

Its subsidiary Mango said it will be be waiving their change booking fee for any bookings for flights between 14 March and 30 April 2020.

Comair also said consumers having to cancel flights with kulula.com will be given credit for the flight’s value which has to be used on a kulula.com network flight within 12 months. 

Group bookings and international customers with Comair connecting flights will be entitled to a full refund or free rebooking up until the 17th of May for tickets booked before 31 March. 

Also read: While other airlines are offering free rebookings due to Covid-19, at SAA ‘normal rules’ apply

Until Friday, consumers can contact Comair’s contact centres to change bookings where after booking will have to be changed online. 

Meanwhile, FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon said its standard and premium fares do not attract rebooking fees, and rebookings can, therefore, continue to be done free of charges on those fares. 

However, the airline will be offering refunds to customers who were seeking to travel overseas but who are no longer doing so as a result of the pandemic.

* This story was updated after SAA cancelled 162 regional and international flights on 18 March. 

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