JSE-listed airline group Comair indicated on Tuesday that the group’s earnings for the 12 months ended June 30 could be as much as 40% higher than the previous year.

Shares in Comair, which have gained more than 40% in the year to date, fell by 5,88% on Tuesday, to close the day at R3,20 a share.

Basic and headline earnings a share were expected to rise between 20% and 40% compared with the year ended June 20, 2006, Comair said in a note to the JSE.

However, profit had been negatively affected by competition from domestic low-cost airline Mango, which Comair said had implemented “unprofitable” ticket prices.

Mango’s sole shareholder is State-owned national carrier South African Airways.

Competition from Mango could also impact on future results, Comair said.

High oil prices also posed a threat, but a fleet upgrade programme, which involved the introduction of more fuel-efficient aircraft, would help mitigate rising fuel costs.

The company expects to publish annual results on or about September 12.