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Weak international demand hits JAL's first-half result

Japan Airlines' operating profit fell 16% to Y81.3 billion ($751 million) in the six months ended 30 September, amid weakness in its international business.

However, revenue rose 1.3% to Y760 billion, as growth in the domestic passenger and other segments helped to offset declines in the international passenger and cargo segments.

The Oneworld alliance member noted that international passenger demand "was not very strong". Domestic demand, however, "remained strong", says JAL, citing a 10-day long public holiday in Japan. "International cargo demand was slack globally," it notes

Operating expenses rose 3.9% to Y679 billion, as non-fuel expenditure increased a higher rate than fuel cost. Aircraft-related and maintenance costs were the biggest contributors to the increased overall expenditure.

Net profit fell 30% to Y51.2 billion.

Network-wide traffic rose 2.2%, matching 2.2% capacity growth. Load factor therefore remain unchanged, at 78.3%. Passenger numbers were up 2.6% at 22.6 million.

JAL notes that it won all of the slots it requested at Tokyo Haneda International airport, which it plans to utilise in 2020. Its investor presentation indicates that it was given 12 slots for use on services to Australia, China, Finland, India, Russia and the USA.

The airline is forecasting that operating profit for the year ending 31 March 2020 will remain unchanged at Y170 billion, and that net profit will come in at Y114 billion. However, revenue is likely to decline to Y1.52 trillion.

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