Japan Airlines projects higher losses over pandemic

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan Airlines (JAL) said yesterday it forecasts a larger-than-expected annual net loss of nearly USD2.9 billion, as the aviation industry continues to struggle from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s second-largest carrier said it projected a net loss of JPY300 billion for the year ending March 2021, up from its previous forecast of JPY240-270 billion.

“Severe worldwide restrictions on international travel have caused international passenger demand to virtually disappear,” it said in a statement.

“Many countries and areas are suffering again from the rebound of the (virus’) spread, which makes the recovery of international passenger demand hard to foresee.”

JAL suffered a net loss of JPY212.7 billion in the April-December period, plunging from a JPY74.8 billion profit for the same period a year before. It posted sales of JPY356.5 billion for the same period, a drop of a third from sales figures of JPY1.1 trillion the previous year.

A Japan Airlines Airbus A350 passenger aircraft takes off from Tokyo’s Haneda airport. PHOTO: AFP

Last week, its rival ANA Holdings maintained its forecast for a record USD4.9 billion net loss this financial year.

ANA, Japan’s biggest airline, announced nine-month net losses of JPY309.6 billion – a record, and a sharp drop from the JPY86.4 billion in profit it logged in the same period the previous year.

But ANA’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer said their “recovery is underway”.

In October, ANA announced a major restructuring plan, having already announced it would halt recruitment for 2021/22, and not replace the approximately 3,000 workers who retire every year.

The Nikkei Business Daily said yesterday about 1,000 Japan Airlines staff are being transferred to companies outside the JAL group as it weathers the effects of the pandemic.