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JAL and ANA together spill $2bn in red ink on virus headwinds

Japan Airlines eyes return to profitability in March if air travel rebounds

ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines have both suffered deep declines in passenger traffic. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- Japan's two largest airlines have logged a combined net loss of roughly $1.9 billion for the April-June quarter as the coronavirus pandemic slashed demand for both domestic and international air travel.

Japan Airlines on Monday reported a quarterly loss equivalent to $885 million on a 78% plunge in revenue to $721 million. Earnings before interest and taxes came to a $1.24 billion loss. The company switched to International Financial Reporting Standards starting in the April-June period.

ANA Holdings, the parent of All Nippon Airways, announced a record quarterly net loss of $1.02 billion last week.

Though JAL did not provide full-year guidance, it did lay out scenarios for recovery. If demand returns to 50% of pre-coronavirus levels for international service and 80% domestically, "we can aim to return to profitability on a monthly basis in March 2021 for the first time" since the pandemic took off, said Hideki Kikuyama, general manager of finance and accounting.

The carrier disclosed plans for additional cost cuts. It saved $1.18 billion last quarter, including fixed costs such as labor and promotional spending, along with reductions to variable expenses linked to the number of flights operated. The airline hopes to expand cuts in fixed costs to $850 million for the full year, up 50% from an earlier plan. JAL looks to scale back capital spending by $755 million.

ANA also has scrambled to cut costs by keeping workers furloughed and moving tasks in-house that previously were outsourced, such as aircraft maintenance. It targets $2.4 billion in savings this fiscal year.

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