Japan Airlines constricts H1 loss on cost incisions, flags annual defeat

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Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) reported a reduced first-half loss before interest and tax than the previous year, aided by cost cutbacks implemented during the epidemic, but it warned of a larger than-expected yearly loss.

The corporation lost 151.8 billion yen ($1.34 billion) in the first half. In the previous fiscal year, Japan’s second-largest airline lost 223.9 billion yen in the six months ended September 30.

JAL announced on Tuesday that it would post a 198 billion yen loss for the fiscal year, which is higher than the 120 billion yen loss predicted by 12 analysts polled.

In August, the airline declined to issue a full-year earnings forecast, citing unpredictability as making forecasting too difficult.

As Japan was in a state of emergency for much of the second quarter, the airline, like the travel industry in the world’s third-largest economy, took a beating.

ANA Holdings Inc. announced last week that it expects to report an operating deficit in the current fiscal year, down from an earlier projection of a profit, and that it plans to reduce workforce by 20% over the next five years through attrition and retirement.

As travel demand improved, JAL said it anticipated to stop bleeding cash by the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. Domestic passenger numbers began increasing last month and are expected to reach 92 percent of pre-COVID levels by March, but international traffic will remain modest at 23 percent of pre-COVID levels.

Japan reaffirmed intentions on Tuesday to gradually relax COVID-19 border restrictions, but fell short of industry lobbying efforts to open up the country in line with its main trading partners.

Most non-resident foreigners, including tourists and business travellers, are still barred from entering the nation due to rigorous controls.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters on Tuesday that the government has decided to revise border regulations in stages, in response to media rumours that quarantine for business travellers would be reduced to three days from ten.

Story by : Norvisi Mawunyegah