Wednesday: Comair Limited, South Africa's leading aviation company listed on the JSE and operator of kulula.com and British Airways in Southern Africa, announced the retirement of its Chairman and non-Executive Director, Dave Novick after 51 fruitful years in the business.
Novick's association with the airline spans half a century - in this time the company has grown from a small carrier serving low density routes to a major player operating to all of the higher density destinations in Southern Africa under two household brands.
When Novick joined Comair in 1961, the company had some 50 employees and operated two DC3 aircraft. Under his direction, the company expanded its fleet into jet aircraft after the de-regulation of South African airline routes in 1991, and today Comair operates 24 Boeing 737 aircraft with almost 2 000 staff.
During Novick's tenure, the company pioneered a strong relationship with British Airways plc and a partnership through a franchise arrangement, which is highly valued by both British Airways and by Comair, as demonstrated by British Airways subsequently taking a shareholding in Comair. kulula.com was established in 2001 as the first low-cost airline in South Africa and over a period of 10 years has maintained its lead in this segment of the market, serving both leisure customers as well as the country's business needs.
Comair's success during this period is particularly unique in that the airline has an unbroken 63 year profit history and an internationally recognised and enviable safety record.
Over the years Novick participated in a number of aviation related government boards and consultative forums and made a significant contribution in leading the overall development of the industry and its role players in a manner that helped establish South Africa as a leader in aviation matters on the African continent.
Novick has decided to retire as of 31 January, but has offered his expertise to the company on a consultative basis. Deputy chairman, Martin Moritz will fulfil the role of Chairman until the meeting of the board on 13 February.