Japan’s two biggest airlines on Tuesday posted a significant recovery in profits in the April-September period as travel demand picked up after the removal of COVID-19 restrictions revived travel demand.
Net profit at ANA Holdings Inc. more than quadrupled from a year earlier to 93.21 billion yen ($620 million) in the six months ended Sept. 30, boosted by an increase in both domestic and international travelers. Sales grew 26.8 percent to 1 trillion yen.
Its operating profit also more than quadrupled to 129.74 billion yen, a record high for the six-month period, the company said.
“Increased revenue in international flight operations and cost control contributed to a record profit,” ANA President Koji Shibata told a press conference.
Japan Airlines Co. posted a net profit of 61.67 billion yen in the fiscal first half, a turnaround from a net loss of 2.2 billion yen a year earlier. Sales increased 32.7 percent to 820.94 billion yen.
Reflecting the demand pickup, JAL raised its net profit forecast for the year through March to 80 billion yen from an earlier estimate of 55 billion yen. Sales are now projected at 1.684 trillion yen, up from 1.658 trillion yen projected earlier.
“Although there are concerns over the oil and currency markets, we hope to maximize profits by lowering costs and tapping robust demand,” Yuji Saito, chief financial officer at JAL, told reporters.
The airline expects oil prices to rise toward the end of the fiscal year amid the ongoing wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, while the weak yen has been hurting outbound travel demand from Japan, according to the company.
ANA left unchanged its full-year forecast, expecting a net profit of 80 billion yen on sales of 1.97 trillion yen.