Buffeted by recession, ANA posts net loss

by Kazuaki Nagata

All Nippon Airways Co. posted a ¥35.1 billion net loss Friday for the April-December period with total sales falling by 16.6 percent, from ¥1.1 trillion to ¥923.7 billion, compared with the same period the previous year.

ANA also posted its first operating loss — ¥37.8 billion — for the nine-month period.

The carrier blamed the continuing recession and the H1N1 swine flu outbreak for discouraging many from traveling overseas last year.

ANA’s domestic flight sales, the main pillar of its business, fell by 12.5 percent, to ¥480.5 billion, while the number of domestic passengers decreased by 9.1 percent, to 3.03 million.

Meanwhile, international flight sales plunged 34.6 percent, from ¥239.3 billion to ¥156.5 billion.

Eiji Kanazawa, an executive at ANA, said that although demand for international flights has begun to recover, per-passenger revenue was only ¥45,888, down 34 percent from the same period the previous year.

Asked about Japan Airlines Corp.’s bankruptcy filing, Kanazawa said the impact was still unknown and ANA needs to keep monitoring the situation carefully.

In the mid to long term, JAL will be in far better shape as much of its debt is relieved through the bankruptcy process, he said.

“Competing (with JAL) in terms of operation costs will be a big challenge for us,” he said.

Cargo merger iffy

Kyodo News

Major shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K. said Friday it has indefinitely put off the merger planned between subsidiary Nippon Cargo Airlines Co. and the cargo division of Japan Airlines Corp.

JAL, which filed for bankruptcy protection last week, still hasn’t hammered out the details of its reconstruction plan. The two companies were to merge in April.