Japan's two biggest airlines on Thursday posted net profit for the April to December period, marking the first time Japan Airlines Co. and ANA Holdings Inc. have been in the black for three quarters of a fiscal year since hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With travel demand for Japan recovering quickly after the Asian country largely relaxed its pandemic-related border restrictions in October, JAL said it booked a net profit of 16.31 billion yen ($127 million) in the nine months to December, a reversal from a net loss of 128.32 billion yen logged in the same period a year before.
Sales more than doubled to 1.01 trillion yen, with other countries also easing their travel restrictions.
ANA posted a net profit of 62.60 billion yen, recovering from a net loss of 102.80 billion yen in the same period of 2021, with the number of international passengers increasing about five times year-on-year to more than 2.81 million, according to the operator of All Nippon Airways Co.
The company also cited firm air travel demand stemming from the easing of entry restrictions overseas, as well as Japan's relaxed border control measures.
Operating profit came to 98.98 billion yen, following a loss of 115.82 billion yen. Sales jumped 70.5 percent to 1.26 trillion yen.
Based on the improved performance, the company raised its net profit outlook for the current business year through March to 60 billion yen from an earlier projection of 40 billion yen.
Sales forecast were also revised upward at 1.71 trillion yen, compared from the previous projection of 1.70 trillion yen.
JAL, meanwhile, slashed its net profit forecast of 45 billion yen to 25 billion yen.
The airline cited slower-than-expected recovery of domestic travel demand, and the limited impact of a government-run tourism subsidy program, for revising its sales outlook to 1.36 trillion yen from the 1.40 trillion yen forecast in November.
Japan relaxed its strict border restrictions in October, allowing travelers to skip COVID-19 testing upon arrival provided they show proof of having undergone at least three vaccinations or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure.
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