JSE-listed domestic airline operator Comair on Tuesday reported headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 57.8c for the financial year ended June 30, up 20.6% on the HEPS of 47.9c recorded the year before.
Revenue grew 17% to R6.28-billion, compared with R5.38-billion in the 2013 financial year, owing to improved yields and a 3% increase in passenger numbers.
Comair attributed the growth in passenger numbers to the strength of the kulula and British Airways brands, as well as owing to Comair’s ongoing focus on customer service.
The airline operator pointed out that the capacity growth by Comair and its competitors had, however, resulted in a decline of 6% in average seat occupancy rates compared with the prior year.
Meanwhile, total comprehensive income increased 16% to R265-million.
Comair CEO Erik Venter said the greatest challenge for the 2014 financial year had been the 18% weakening of the average exchange rate, contributing to an increase of 19% in the price of fuel.
“Excluding the effect of this increase, the cost per available seat decreased by 1.5%, achieved mainly through the efficiencies derived from the ongoing upgrading of the fleet.
“The new Boeing 737-800s, acquired 18 months ago, continued to perform exceptionally well, and Comair purchased a further, pre-owned [737-800] early in the year, followed by another [737-800] on lease. Both of these aircraft replaced Boeing 737-300s that were retired.”
Cash at year-end remained strong at R868-million.
Commenting on the year ahead, Venter said that despite the sluggish economy, declining passenger market and high operating costs, Comair remained confident in further growing group profits.
“The ongoing upgrades to the fleet will continue to improve operating efficiency, while at the same time enhancing the revenue potential per flight. We are also focused on implementing technology solutions to enhance our operating performance, customer service experience and revenue generating opportunities.
“Despite the challenges of the industry and the additional capacity arising from potential new competitors, Comair’s much improved infrastructure and continued focus on customer service bode well for reasonable results in the year ahead,” he noted.