South African carrier Comair has disclosed plans to move maintenance work overseas, citing "problems" with provider SAA Technical.

In an open letter, Comair's chief executive Erik Venter apologises to customers who have in recent months experienced delays to flights it operates under franchise for British Airways and its own brand Kulula.

He alludes to "problems" with the scheduling of maintenance, as well as logistics-related "challenges", at South African Airways maintenance subsidiary SAA Technical, which has to date maintained Comair's aircraft.

Venter says Comair has now decided to have all "major" MRO requirements met overseas and is seeking regulatory approval to make Lufthansa Technik its "approved maintenance organisation".

Comair has already contracted LHT to maintain two new Boeing 737 Max 8s it is set to receive in February 2019, and says this co-operation will be extended to five 737-800s to be taken on lease between April and September 2019.

Pointing to "current circumstances", Venter says Comair has been compelled to keep an "extraordinary" reserve ration of five full-time back-up aircraft to its 21-strong fleet.

In addition, the privately owned airline says it is wet-leasing an Airbus A320 to "ease pressure" on aircraft availability, crew and rosters, and has instituted an ad-hoc wet lease of a Boeing 737-300.

The airline has also cancelled all "noncritical" crew duties to ensure maximum crew availability for flight operations. It has also set aside R100 million ($6.8 million) for rectification of the situation and "long-term solutions".

SAA declined to comment.

Source: Cirium Dashboard