Thai Airways returns to profitability, improves outlook; JAL’s losses widen

Thai Airways’ shares gained 6.1% on Friday, rising to the highest level in more than four months in Bangkok, after the airline reported a better-than-expected FY2009 net profit (of USD222.5 million, compared to a loss of USD647.7 million in the previous corresponding period) and a positive profit outlook for 2010. The carrier’s shares slumped 16.6% in the October-December quarter.

Thai Airways’ results were positivity impacted by a USD96 million gain on foreign currency exchange and a 31% reduction in total costs, which more than exceeded the 19% slump in revenues (to USD5.0 billion). However, yields remained weak in the 12-month period, down 9.6% (passenger yields were down 10.1% with cargo yields down 12.3%).

Thai Airways expects to increase profitability levels by 10-15% in 2010, with the carrier adding that it expects record load factors of approximately 80% in Jan-2010 and Feb-2010.

Japan Airlines reports big net loss in Dec-2009 quarter

Meanwhile, recently-delisted Japan Airlines posted a net loss of USD525 million in the three months to Dec-2009 (compared to a net loss of USD433 million in the previous corresponding period and higher than in the previous two quarters), as revenues slumped 22% to USD4.3 billion. As part of this, average per passenger revenue from international services slumped 37%, with half of this decline attributed to falling demand. Operating losses were, however, narrowed from USD490 million to USD437 million.

While the carrier did not provide an outlook, JAL's administrator from the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp, Akitoshi Nakamura, stated the company's expected loss for the fiscal year through 31-Mar-2010 will likely be smaller than the previously projected operating loss of over USD2.9 billion.

See article: Japan Airlines in a sorry state. USD2 billion loss in first nine months. What’s next?

Indian jet fuel prices raised

Shares in Jet Airways and SpiceJet slipped 2.1% and 1.3%, respectively, while Kingfisher’s shares were up 0.6%, as Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum increased Indian jet fuel prices by approximately 3.5% as of today (01-Mar-2010). Fuel prices were reduced by approximately 2.5% on 15-Feb-2010 and 5.5% on 01-Feb-2010. 

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Asia Pacific selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 26-Feb-2010