Japan Airlines returns to quarterly profit, boosts revenue target

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Business is “steadily recovering” at Japan Airlines (JAL), with the airline posting its first quarterly profit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Japan’s second largest airline also increased its revenue target for the financial year after a sharp recovery in international passenger traffic and business travel.  

“From October, with further easing of restrictions including removal of the cap on the number of people entering Japan and exemption of short-stay visas for tourism, we expect a full-fledged recovery in demand, including inbound travel,” the airline said in a first half results statement on November 1, 2022.  

In the three months to September 30, 2022, comprising the second quarter of its financial year, JAL posted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of JPY27.9 billion ($189 million), its first quarterly profit since the third quarter of 2019. Revenue in the second quarter jumped 122% to JPY349.6 billion ($2.4 billion), thanks to recovering international passenger traffic and a continuing strong performance from its cargo business. 

Alongside the mainline full-service carrier, JAL also operates two low-cost brands – Zipair and Spring Japan, plus has a share in Jetstar Japan. At the end of the quarter, the group had 226 aircraft in its fleet in total.   

For the year as a whole, JAL forecasts revenue of JPY1,404 billion ($9.5 billion), an increase of JPY14 billion from its previous prediction. 

Within that forecast, domestic revenues are expected to be less due to another wave of COVID-19 infections during the first half of the year. However, cargo revenue and international passenger revenue are expected to beat previous expectations.  

In terms of profit, JAL stuck to its forecast for EBIT of JPY80 billion ($542 million), because rising fuel costs are expected to offset the increased revenue.  

“Business performance is steadily recovering. Going forward, the entire company will make a concerted effort to further increase profits,” JAL summarized in the results statement. 

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