Japan’s ANA to cut 3,500 jobs in three years as it anticipates prolonged COVID-19 woes

TOKYO (CNA) – ANA Holdings plans to cut about 3,500 jobs in three years as Japan’s largest airline operator braces for its biggest-ever annual loss due to a plunge in demand driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the Yomiuri Daily reported.

The job losses are part of ANA’s broader business restructuring plan to be announced tomorrow, as it scrambles to cut fixed costs in anticipation of a prolonged downturn in travel demand, the Yomiuri said yesterday.

ANA, which had group workforce of 43,500 as of last year, plans to achieve the job cut target by the year ending in March 2023 through outplacement programmes and a hiring freeze, according to the paper.

ANA representatives could not be reached immediately.

As short-term measures, ANA is considering temporarily dispatching some of its workforce to several other firms including Toyota Motor and selling 30 of its costly wide-body aircraft, the Yomiuri added.

Passenger planes for ANA are seen at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. PHOTO: AFP

Forecast to suffer a net loss of around JPY500 billion (USD4.8 billion) for this fiscal year to March, ANA has turned to billions of dollars in loans and a government tourism campaign to weather the slump in air travel.

Separately, the Nikkei business daily reported yesterday that ANA’s local rival, Japan Airlines, was expected to report an operating loss of about ¥85 billion for the July to September quarter.

JAL was mired in the red as passenger traffic on international flights plunged 97 per cent in the quarter, the Nikkei said.

Reflecting severe headwinds in the industry, domestic airline Star Flyer is in talks with Japanese private equity firm Advantage Partners and others to raise about JPY10 billion in capital through new bond issuance, Japanese media reported late on Saturday. ANA is the biggest shareholder in Star Flyer with an 18 per cent stake.