• Kyodo

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Japan Airlines Co. on Friday reported a net loss of ¥286.69 billion for the business year through March as the coronavirus pandemic depressed travel demand, causing the company to log its first red ink since relisting in 2012 following business rehabilitation.

JAL, which has been undergoing cost-cutting to ride out the COVID-19 crisis, did not disclose earnings forecasts for the current year through next March, citing uncertainty.

JAL logged a loss of ¥398.31 billion before interest and taxes as sales plunged 65.3% from the year before to ¥481.23 billion in the year through March 31.

Japan Airlines Co. President Yuji Akasaka speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. | KYODO
Japan Airlines Co. President Yuji Akasaka speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Friday. | KYODO

JAL is not alone in struggling to stay afloat as the pandemic limited people’s movement and economic activity. Last week, its domestic rival ANA Holdings Inc., the parent of All Nippon Airways Co., reported a record net loss of ¥404.62 billion for fiscal 2020.

With vaccination rollouts slower in Japan than in the United States and some European nations, the nation is still struggling to curb coronavirus infections and a third state of emergency for populous areas like Tokyo and Osaka will be extended.

In the business year, the number of passengers on domestic flights came to 12.21 million, down 66.5% from a year ago, while those on international flights tumbled 96% to 357,519 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic recovery in travel, JAL said it plans to strengthen its ties with low-cost carriers.

It will make Spring Airlines Japan Co., a unit of China’s major LCC Spring Airlines Co., a consolidated subsidiary in June, according to a new medium-term business plan unveiled Friday.

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