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Japan Airlines forecasts return to profit in this fiscal year

10-May-2007

Tokyo (XFN-ASIA) - Japan Airlines Corp (JAL) has forecast a

return to profit in the fiscal year ending next March as it benefits from rising

passenger revenue, after suffering two straight years of losses.

The airline, which has been axing thousands of jobs in a restructuring drive, predicts a net profit of 7 bln yen in this fiscal year.

JAL missed its original target of returning to the black in the last fiscal year, reporting a net loss of 16.27 bln yen, roughly in line with a preliminary estimate released last week.

But it reported operating profit of 22.9 bln yen, 76 pct more than it originally predicted and sharp improvement on the 26.8 bln loss it made in the previous fiscal year.

Its operating revenue in the last fiscal year rose 4.6 pct to 2.30 trln yen.

JAL said it had benefitted from more business travelers, particularly on routes to Asian destinations such as China.

The company said in a written statement: "The JAL group's international passenger business is expected to be strong in terms of demand, mainly due to the marked recovery of demand on China routes, on which the JAL group has increased flight frequencies."

JAL said it was also rebounding at home, with more individuals travelling within Japan.

"The company will build on this moderate growth in order to increase its market share in Japan," it said.

The airline said it had also gained from improvements in service on its international routes, including the start of a "premium economy" class, and from membership of the Oneworld alliance of international carriers.

JAL blamed special factors for its losses in the last fiscal year, including an extraordinary loss of 6 bln yen arising from its early retirement plan and the removal of a deferred tax asset from its balance sheet.


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