• ANA profit soars on international business


    TOKYO: All Nippon Airways said on Wednesday that its six-month net profit soared 51 percent as a jump in inbound tourism boosted its international business, while falling oil prices also help airlines’ finances.

    The airline has been given a lift by an expansion of landing slots at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, while a weak yen has been drawing record numbers of tourists to Japan.

    ANA has been in a spat with its rival and one-time flag-carrier Japan Airlines (JAL) over
    the allocation of landing slots at Haneda, after JAL emerged from one of the nation’s biggest-ever bankruptcies following a government rescue. JAL reports its earnings later this week.

    Falling oil prices have also helped the carrier’s bottom line—fuel is often an airline’s single-biggest expense.

    ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways, said its profit in the April-September period was 53.97 billion yen ($448 million), with revenue up nearly seven percent from a year ago.

    “ANA continued to see a positive impact from the expansion in its international flight slots at Haneda airport at a time when demand for business use is growing steadily,” said Hiroshi Hasegawa, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.

    “A cut in fuel costs in the wake of falls in crude oil prices also contributed to the profit gain. I’m not seeing any major negative factors for the industry right now, but an economic slump could hurt demand for business class seats in the future.”

    ANA this summer threw a lifeline to struggling domestic rival Skymark Airlines, Japan’s third-biggest airline, which flies on domestic routes.

    Skymark filed for bankruptcy protection in late January in the face of potentially massive penalties linked to a cancelled $2.2 billion jet order with Airbus.

    The Skymark deal would expand ANA’s landing slots and give it the upper hand in setting airfares.

    In August, Skymark creditors voted in favor of a rescue plan led by ANA, edging out a rival bid that included US carrier Delta.

    ANA is aiming to lure more Chinese tourists to Japan in the second half by boosting flights between Haneda and airports in China, the Nikkei business daily has reported.



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