SARS-hit JAL Group posts net loss for first quarter

  • Business
  • Saturday, 02 Aug 2003

TOKYO: Japan Airlines System Corp (JAL Group), Asia’s biggest airline, reported yesterday a quarterly net loss, battered by weak passenger demand on international flights due to SARS and the war in Iraq. 

The airline's international operations took a heavy blow from the Iraq war and the SARS outbreak at a time when commercial air traffic was just recovering from its depressed levels after the Sept 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. 

Its results came just days after reports of an unprecedented quarterly loss by Singapore Airlines and a first-quarter loss by domestic rival All Nippon Airways (ANA), highlighting the woes of the sector. 

JAL Group, formed last October in a merger between Japan Airlines and Japan Air System, posted a group net loss of 77.28 billion yen (US$642.7mil) for the April–June period on revenues of 398.8 billion yen. 

The company gave no official year-ago comparison since it was announcing quarterly earnings for the first time. It maintained its forecast for a group net loss of 43 billion yen for the year to March 2004, compared with a 11.65 billion yen net profit in the previous year. 

On Thursday, rival ANA reported a group net loss of 18.32 billion yen for the April–June period, compared with a loss of 11.80 billion yen a year ago, but it stuck to its forecast of a group net profit for the full year ending March 2004. – Reuters  

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