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Japan's biggest airlines project smooth annual earnings
[TOKYO] Japan's two biggest airlines posted mixed nine-month results on Friday with All Nippon Airways (ANA) posting a 57 per cent rise in net profit as its international business took off, while rival Japan Airlines (JAL) saw its bottom line shrink.
Despite the fall in profit, JAL raised its full-year earnings forecast owing to falling fuel costs and stronger revenue in its cargo business.
A drop in oil prices is good news for airlines which often count fuel as their single-biggest expense, especially as a sharp drop in the yen boosted those costs.
ANA said its April-December net profit more than doubled to 52.36 billion yen (S$598 million) from a year ago, as an expansion at Tokyo's downtown Haneda airport increased landing slots for international flights.
Sales in the latest period rose 9.1 per cent to 1.3 trillion yen, the company said.
Revenue from international passenger flights jumped 19.1 per cent on-year, ANA said, while revenue in its domestic passenger flight business edged up 1.0 per cent.
"(The company) moved to strengthen its overseas networks by taking advantage of the increase in takeoff and landing slots for international routes at Haneda Airport last spring," it said in a statement.
ANA added seven new routes at the airport with flights bound for London, Paris, Munich, Hanoi, Jakarta, Manila and Vancouver.
The airline left unchanged its annual net profit forecast of 35 billion yen for the fiscal year to March.
ANA's rival said profit for its April-December period slipped by 3.1 per cent, to 119.7 billion yen, while revenue rose 3.3 per cent to 1.02 trillion yen from a year ago.
But JAL revised up its earnings forecast to a net profit of 139 billion yen - against a previous projection of 135 billion yen - due to falling fuel costs and better sales in its cargo business.