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ANA forecasts net profit of $32m after suffering record loss

Japan's biggest airline plans to cut $2.7bn in costs to restore profitability

In common with all airlines, ANA has been massively affected by the loss of passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, announced on Friday a net profit forecast of 3.5 billion yen ($32 million) for the current fiscal year after it posted a consolidated net loss of 404.6 billion, its largest ever deficit, for the year that ended in March.

The airline posted an operating loss of 464.7 billion yen in the same period. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of passengers carried on international routes fell by 95% for the fiscal year 2020 compared to the previous year.

Although the net loss is the airline group's largest ever, it is an improvement of 105 billion yen over a forecast ANA reported in October of a net loss of 510 billion yen for the full year. In the intervening months, the group succeeded in lowering costs by among other measures reducing its flight schedule.

Sales declined 63.1% to 728.6 billion yen on plunging airline revenue, which accounted for more than 80% of total revenue before the pandemic.

Japan's leading carrier projects that sales will rise 89.4% to 1.38 trillion yen for the current fiscal year, generating a net profit of 3.5 billion yen.

Domestic demand is expected to recover from the second quarter of this year and to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this fiscal year. International demand is not expected to do the same until fiscal 2023.

"We see the vaccine rollout as key to restoring travel demand, "ANA Holdings President Shinya Katanozaka told reporters at the earnings conference on Friday. He also said the company is working on iCOVID-19 digital vaccine certification.

Costs have been cut by measures that include flight and pay reductions, and Katanozaka said "further ideas" are being considered. The company expects to reduce fixed costs by 300 billion yen in fiscal 2021, with a fleet reduction of 25 aircraft by the end of fiscal 2022.

To make the company more resilient to pandemics, Katanozaka said ANA will expand its digital platform business, which offers a wide range of products that include real estate and insurance. There are also plans for medium haul budget routes in Asia after next year.

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