Johannesburg - 12 February 2008. Comair Limited, the listed airline and online travel group that operates the British Airways and kulula.com brands, today paid tribute to its 1675 people as it announced another set of record results for its half year to December. Despite a R60M increase in its fuel bill and once off costs of R15M, earnings were 14% up on the previous year. Earlier today joint CEOs Erik Venter and Gidon Novick said, “Full credit for these results goes to the fantastic people of Comair. It is only through their great commitment and unwavering focus on customer service that we are able to achieve these results and we thank each and every one of you.”
Both of the company’s brands performed well over the period and enabled the business to grow turnover by 12%. The British Airways brand was able to benefit from strong demand for it’s upgraded ‘Club’ (business class) product while kulula continued to operate at very high occupancies and generated good revenue from ‘non-flight’ related sources. kulula recently launched its travel portal which offers a wide range of accommodation and packaged holiday options. The company is also well positioned to benefit from its air freight venture with Imperial (Imperial Air Cargo) and its ground handling venture with BidAir Services (CHS).
The company was able to achieve cost savings through the introduction of additional new aircraft into the fleet. The fleet replacement, which involves upgrading its fleet of 23 aircraft to more modern and fuel efficient Boeing 737s will be completed later this year.
At the company’s board meeting held yesterday, Ronnie Ntuli, the chairman of the Thelo Consortium, was appointed as a Deputy Chairman of the Company. Thelo holds 16% of the shares in Comair which together with the BEE shareholding of Bidvest, Comair’s largest shareholder, accounts for more than 25% of the company. Comair Chairman, Dave Novick, commented “Ronnie has added great value to Comair in the year and a half that we’ve worked together. He is an astute individual who we are confident will make a meaningful impact on Comair’s future.”
Looking ahead the CEOs expressed cautious optimism “Despite the economic uncertainty in South Africa, the air travel market is still growing nicely and our brands are very well positioned. Also, we are optimistic about our growth prospects into Africa and our new business ventures.