A Kulula.com Boeing at Lanseria airport in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
ON THE GROUND: A Kulula.com Boeing at Lanseria airport in Johannesburg. The budget carrier is owned by Comair. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

LISTED carrier Comair has managed to buck the trend of losses that has plagued operators in the sector, which has been battered by high fuel prices, overcapacity and a fall in consumer demand.

The operator of British Airways and low-cost airline Kulula.com said on Monday it expected to report earnings per share for the year ended June 30 of between 1.2c per share and 1.8c per share, with headline earnings between 3c per share and 4.1c per share.

"Although the results are lower than in the prior year, the results represent a significant turnaround in performance from the losses incurred in the first half of the financial year," the company said in a statement.

In the comparable period last year, the company reported earnings of 15.9c per share.

In February, it reported a net loss of R33.7m for the six months to the end of December — its first loss in more than 60 years. Its share price has fallen nearly 50% in the past year, but rose 4.3% to R1.21 on Monday.

The news of the improvement in earnings comes as competitor 1Time Airline last month applied for business rescue to avoid any attempts by its creditors to have the eight-year-old low-cost carrier liquidated.

State-owned airlines South African Airways, SA Express and low-cost operator Mango are all expected to report losses for the 2011 financial year.

Comair expects to publish its earnings on September 11.