Japan Airlines Co. said Monday it has revised down its net loss outlook for fiscal 2020 to 300 billion yen ($ 2.86 billion) from the previous forecast of between 240 billion yen and 270 billion yen due to a further fall in air travel demand amid a global resurgence of coronavirus infections.
The major airline is expected to log the first red ink in the current business year through March since relisting in 2012 following its bankruptcy in 2010 and the worst in the company’s history.
JAL said it posted a net loss of 212.72 billion yen in the April-December period, a reversal from a profit of 74.84 billion yen in the same period of the previous year.
Earnings before interest and taxes saw a loss of 294.18 billion yen on sales of 356.55 billion yen, down 68 percent, from a year earlier despite its all-out cost-cutting efforts worth over 100 billion yen in the nine months.
The company’s forecast for a bigger loss is due to weaker-than-expected recovery in air travel demand, said Hideki Kikuyama, a JAL senior managing executive officer.
The airline said the number of international passengers plunged 96.6 percent in the three quarters from the previous year, as many countries restricted entries amid the continuing spread of virus infections.
The number of domestic passengers fell 66.7 percent after the government suspended in late December a nationwide travel subsidy program, launched in July, after a resurgence of the COVID-19 illness across Japan.
JAL underlined that it has maintained its fiscal health, as it expects to hoard 370 billion yen in cash and keep an unused commitment line at 300 billion yen at the end of March, with its capital adequacy ratio at 44.3 percent.
However, the pandemic hit the global aviation industry hard. ANA Holdings Inc., a domestic rival of JAL, said Friday it expects a record net loss of 510 billion yen in fiscal 2020, posting the largest net loss of 309.58 billion yen in the April-December period.
JAL also said it will forgo dividend payments in the current business year. It paid 55 yen per share in the previous business year.