Japan Airlines (JAL) expects international demand recovery will take “some more time”, although it predicts domestic demand will recover steadily over the next six months.
The carrier made the comments as it reported a smaller loss for the second quarter of its financial year. In the three months to September 30, 2021, JAL reported a loss on earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 151.8 billion yen ($1.3 billion), lower than the loss of 223.9 billion yen ($1.97 billion) one year ago.
International passenger revenues in the first six months of its fiscal year were down 89% in comparison with pre-pandemic level from 2019. Domestic revenue was down 69%.
JAL said it was hard to predict future passenger demand. “Solid international passenger demand recovery is expected to take some more time because border restrictions are not likely to be lifted soon mainly in Asian countries,” the airline commented.
“Now it is expected that the recent domestic passenger demand will recover solidly toward the end of this fiscal year,” it added.
Cargo, however, remains strong, JAL said. The company, which has been using passenger aircraft for freight flights and also chartering freighters, highlighted demand for shipping automotive or electronics parts to North America.
In the first six months of the financial year, cargo revenues were up 118% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
For the year to March 31, 2022, JAL is estimating full-year revenue of 766 billion yen ($6.7 billion), compared with 481 billion yen ($4.2 billion) in the previous year. It expects to halve its full-year EBIT loss to 198 billion yen ($1.7 billion).
JAL expects to return to positive monthly EBIT in the final quarter of its financial year, and predicts domestic demand will be back up to 90% of pre-pandemic levels in the quarter. International demand will only be around 20% of pre-crisis levels, however.
Fellow Japanese carrier ANA downgraded its profit outlook on October 29 after recovery proved slower than it expected.