Japan Airlines Says Six-Month Profit Soars, Ups Full-Year Forecast

October 30,2015
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(Photo by Fumishige Ogata)

(AFP)--Japan Airlines said Friday its six-month net profit soared nearly 29 percent, after rival All Nippon Airways also posted upbeat results as the carriers benefit from a surge in tourism and a steep slide in fuel costs.

Visitor arrivals in Japan have surged as a weak yen puts more purchasing power in the hands of foreign tourists.

"The number of foreign visitors to Japan, which affects our company's passenger revenue, increased significantly from the previous year," JAL said.

Falling oil prices have also helped the carrier's bottom line -- fuel is often an airline's single-biggest expense.

"Oil prices, which greatly affect our fuel purchasing costs, have been low compared to the year before," it added.

The airline said net profit in April-September jumped to 103.4 billion yen ($854 million), while it said it expected its full-year profit to be 172 billion yen, up about 20 percent from its earlier projection.

Half-year revenue rose 0.6 percent to 687.9 billion yen, JAL said.

International route passenger figures rose while the domestic business also ticked up.

"JAL has seen growing demand on business flights and more foreign tourists," said Hiroshi Hasegawa, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.

He added that the benefits of lower oil prices were likely to continue helping the firm's finances

For the full fiscal year to March 2016, JAL upgraded its sales forecast to 1.347 trillion yen from its earlier estimate of 1.328 trillion yen.

"We expect stronger sales ... mainly due to the favourable trend of demand for visits to Japan as well as a revision of our assumptions for fuel market conditions as well as foreign exchange rates," it added.

On Wednesday, ANA said six-month net profit soared 51 percent, as it also benefited from having more landing slots at Tokyo's downtown Haneda airport.

ANA has been in a spat with its biggest domestic rival over the allocation of landing slots at Haneda, after JAL emerged from one of the nation's biggest-ever bankruptcies following a government rescue.

The airline re-listed its shares in Tokyo in 2012 to mark a spectacular turnaround three years after it went bankrupt with massive debts and saw its stock delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Japan Airlines

All Nippon Airways