South Africa has announced a shortlist of four bidding groups to go forward to the next phase in the privatisation of domestic airline Sun Air. Malaysian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and rival regional Comair are listed.

Each of the three airlines, together with a fourth bid led by Phoenix Venture partners, is now teamed with a series of local investment and "black empowerment" groups which have been established to encourage economic involvement by the black majority in post-apartheid South Africa.

The only airline which had registered interest but is not included on the shortlist is Air France. The South African Ministry of Transport says that it expects to receive final bids by 21 July, out of which it will select a winner. Virgin, which has an existing codeshare with Sun Air, and Comair, a British Airways franchise partner, are the likely front runners.

Source: Flight International