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Now-healthy JAL marks first anniversary of relisting

Kyodo

A year after relisting on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Japan Airlines Co. is overwhelming long-time rival ANA Holdings Inc. in profit terms.

Thursday marked the first year anniversary of JAL’s return to the first section of the TSE, and the airline has regained its financial footing by dropping unprofitable routes and taking other cost-cutting measures since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2010.

But JAL’s recovery, facilitated by ¥350 billion in public funding, has drawn fire for being unfair.

“We are in a severely disadvantaged position,” an ANA official said.

JAL posted a group net loss of ¥63.1 billion in fiscal 2008 but logged a profit of ¥186.6 billion three years later under then-Chairman Kazuo Inamori, who led the carrier’s rehabilitation to completion in March 2011.

In the April-June first quarter of the business year, JAL posted a group net profit of ¥18.3 billion and ANA Holdings posted a loss of ¥6.6 billion.

On Thursday, JAL’s stock price surged to ¥5,930, the highest since it was relisted.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democratic Party plans to submit a bill to the Diet this autumn aimed at preventing companies from benefitting excessively from public bailouts and putting their rivals under undue pressure.

In an attempt to close the gap with JAL, ANA Holdings Inc. is insisting that its All Nippon Airways Co. be granted more slots at Tokyo’s Haneda airport than JAL next March, when international flights are scheduled to climb by about 30,000 a year.