A combination of higher fuel charges, a weaker yen and increased passenger traffic have produced mixed financial results for Japan's three largest airlines for the first six months of their latest financial years.

Net profits slumped by more than 71% at Japan Airlines (JAL), to nearly ´2.7 billion ($23 million) in the six months to the end of September. The airline, as a result, has revised an earlier forecast of a ´5 billion profit by the end of the year, and expects only to break even.

The fall came despite a solid 7.4% increase in JAL's international passenger traffic and close to 7% growth in revenue to over ´600 billion. Total passenger traffic topped 15 million people, up 4.5%, while cargo traffic remained flat.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) managed to turn in a much healthier first half, with net profits rising by nearly one-third, to ´8.4 billion, on the previous year. Revenue was up by 5% to reach ´451 billion, buoyed by a 17% jump in passenger traffic on its growing international services. Total passenger numbers topped 20 million.

ANA has nevertheless been forced to lower its profit expectations for the full year to ´3.4 billion, as a consequence of 9% higher imported fuel charges.

The country's third carrier, Japan Air System, announced a 45% increase in net profit to ´5 billion on the back of increased sales and cost-cutting efforts. Sales jumped by 8.9% to ´166 billion.

Source: Flight International