TOKYO — Japan's All Nippon Airways on Friday said it swung to a group operating loss of 8.1 billion yen ($104.2 million) in April-June from profit a year earlier after the March disasters hit demand.
The loss compared to a 2.9 billion yen operating profit in the same period in 2010, amid tumbling passenger numbers in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The group sank to a net loss of 8.4 billion yen in the first quarter, widening a loss of 5.2 billion yen posted a year earlier.
However, the group pointed towards a recovery later in the year, forecasting an annual net profit of 20 billion yen for the year ending March 2012, 14 percent down.
The airline held off releasing an earnings outlook in April when announcing results for the business year ended March 2011, due to the uncertain impact of the disasters.
"The losses during the period reflect the severe disruption caused by the Great East Japan earthquake in March which resulted in a significant decline in passenger numbers," ANA said in a statement.
"Despite the steady recovery of the Japanese economy during the period, the short-term outlook remains unclear due to factors including restrictions on electric power distribution, the nuclear power shutdown, and a steep rise in crude oil prices," it said.
While post-quake passenger traffic levels began to pick up in the middle of April, ANA said business demand was showing early recovery but "recovery in leisure demand is slow; above all, with in-bound passenger numbers significantly down".
Despite the uncertainties, ANA also forecast a 70 billion yen operating income, up 3.2 percent on-year, on revenue of 1.41 trillion, up 3.9 percent.
As ANA adopted a 30 billion yen programme to boost demand and cut costs, revenue slipped just 0.6 percent in April-June to 305.0 billion yen from 306.9 billion a year earlier.
The airline cut services and deployed smaller planes to cope with the post-quake drop in passenger demand.
The Japanese carrier is set to begin services in the third quarter using Boeing's 787 Dreamliner after years of delays.
Boeing had originally promised to roll out the plane in 2008, but a string of technical mishaps and delays have slowed the testing programme for the jets, heralded as a new generation of highly fuel-efficient mid-sized aircraft.
Earlier this month ANA and Southeast Asia's largest budget carrier AirAsia said they will form a joint venture to establish a low-cost airline based in Tokyo.
ANA also holds a 33.4 percent stake in budget carrier Peach, which aims to begin domestic services out of Kansai International Airport in the western Japanese city of Osaka in March 2012.
Shares in ANA closed 1.50 percent lower at 261 yen in Tokyo before the earnings announcement.
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