Japan Airlines logged Tuesday an annual net profit for the first time in three years, buoyed by soaring domestic and international demand for travel after pandemic restrictions were eased.The carrier, Japan’s second-largest by market share, said net profit for the year to March was 34.4 billion yen (USD 250 million), a turnaround from a net loss of 177 billion yen in the previous financial year.
“Air passenger demand recovered steadily as the shift toward balancing the Covid-19 pandemic’s prevention and socioeconomic activities gained momentum,” a company statement said.
JAL’s results were last in the black in the year to March 2020, just before Covid-19 began to cause global chaos.
Business was clobbered by the pandemic and in 2020-21 JAL suffered an annual net loss of 287 billion yen, its first full-year result in the red since it relisted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2012.
A pick-up in travel demand throughout the last fiscal year offset higher fuel costs to help Japan’s second-largest airline return to profit.Domestic demand is expected to return to 94 percent of pre-Covid levels during the current business year, while demand for international travel is seen recovering to 65 percent, the company said.
Group revenue is expected to rise 20.5 percent to 1.66 trillion yen, it said.
On Tuesday, the carrier attributed its return to profitability in part to “comprehensive cost-cutting efforts and maximising sales in the cargo business domain”.
The airline’s rival ANA Holdings similarly said last week that it achieved profitability for the first time in three years, logging a full-year net profit of 89 billion yen.