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ANA returns to profit, faces uncertain outlook

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 28, 2011
Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) said Thursday it returned to profit in the year to March, as travel demand recovered while the company cut costs.

But the airline said it was unable to issue forecasts for the ongoing fiscal year as it tries to gauge the business impact of the tsunami and nuclear disaster that hit northeast Japan in March.

ANA's net profit reached 23 billion yen (281.4 million dollars), turning around from a net loss of 57.4 billion yen a year ago, when air travel was hit hard by the global economic downturn and swine flu.

Operating profit was 67.8 billion yen, reversing a loss of 54.2 billion yen. Sales climbed to 1.4 trillion yen, up 10.5 percent from a year ago.

For domestic routes, both business and leisure travel demand grew steadily, resulting in a 3.4 percent rise in passenger revenues. But the March disaster depressed travel demand, ANA said.

On international routes, a "marked recovery in business demand" was seen to all destinations, the company said, adding that new services from Tokyo's Haneda airport to major US and Asian cities had enjoyed success.

But ANA did not issue forecasts for the year to March 2012, as it continued to assess the business impact of the record 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami of March 11, which left some 26,000 people dead or missing and wrecked a nuclear power plant.

"We expanded our international business during the fiscal year with the addition of new services and increased capacity," said Shinichiro Ito, ANA president and chief executive.

"Looking forward, however, future prospects for the Japanese economy are unpredictable given substantially higher oil prices, the uncertain outlook for global business, fluctuations in exchange rates and the impact of the March 11 earthquake," he said.

ANA would continue flying to the northeast region hit hardest by the disaster to help with the reconstruction efforts, he said.

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