Two of the nation’s major airlines watched their unconsolidated earnings travel in opposite directions during the first half of fiscal 1999, with industry leader Japan Airlines Co.’s falling and Japan Air System Co.’s increasing, reports released Friday showed.

JAL reported an unconsolidated pretax profit of 18.7 billion yen for the April-September period, down 36.1 percent from the same period last year. Company officials blamed the steep appreciation of the yen and reduced income from aircraft-related businesses.

JAL’s net profit during the period shrank 65.2 percent from the same period last year to 6.4 billion yen, while sales fell 2.6 percent from the previous year to 599 billion yen.

However, it managed to secure an 8.4 percent rise in operating profit to 30 billion yen due to reduced business costs, officials said.

Despite a 10 percent increase in the number of its international route passengers, revenue from these flights decreased 3 percent from the previous year, partly because of a decline in the number of first- and business-class passengers, they said.

On the other hand, JAS saw its unconsolidated pretax profit surge 61.8 percent to 4 billion yen during the six-month period, thanks to increased income from international flights and reduced business costs, company officials reported.

The carrier reported an operating profit of 7.7 billion yen, compared with 2 billion yen for the same period last year, and it logged a net profit of 4 billion yen, up from a net loss of 237 million yen reported last year.

JAS’ revenue from international passenger flights doubled with the opening of two routes between Japan and China. That also led to an 80 percent increase in international passengers from the same period last year.

The airline’s sales rose 2.7 percent from the same period last year to 176 billion yen.

Both airlines said that although they saw an increase in the number of domestic flight passengers by 3 percent to 4 percent compared to a year earlier, income from domestic flights fell because of intensified competition.

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