TOKYO -- ANA Holdings' operating profit appears to have climbed just over 10% to about 165 billion yen ($1.51 billion) for the year ended March, with increased business travel helping to propel the carrier to a third straight record.
The All Nippon Airways parent has forecast a 160 billion yen profit. With Japanese corporations performing well, business travel rose to other parts of Asia, North America and Europe. The profitable business-class bookings buoyed ANA's results.
Sales apparently rose a little over 10% to around 2 trillion yen. In addition to the uptick in business travelers, the airline tapped the influx of visitors to Japan. Furthermore, the carrier captured demand from Asian travelers heading to North America via Japan with more frequent flights servicing Los Angeles from October. During this winter's Lunar New Year holidays, more tourists from China's major cities and inland areas visited Japan as well.
Passenger revenue from ANA's international routes grew a little over 15%. Foreign travelers opting to travel by air to smaller cities after reaching Japan also boosted numbers for domestic service.
The cargo business enjoyed strong demand for pricier services to transport such items as automobiles and electronic parts.
Switching maintenance contracts incurred a one-time cost of around 20 billion yen in the January-March quarter. High fuel and labor costs were absorbed by the sales growth.
The company releases fiscal 2017 results Friday. For the current year that began this month, international service is expected to continue driving sales growth on strong demand.
In late March, ANA announced a code-sharing and mileage program partnership with Italy's Alitalia. It also plans to add flights on some routes, including Haneda-Bangkok. The company expects heavy costs, however, to hire the workers needed to increase flights out of Haneda Airport near central Tokyo.
In February, ANA said it would aim for a 165 billion yen operating profit in fiscal 2018. Demand has been better than expected, so the company's forecast may prove to be conservative.