ANA says nine-month net profit dives 36pc to $325m

January 31, 2014 - 10:27:08 am

TOKYO: The operator of Japan's All Nippon Airways said Friday that nine-month net profit dived by more than a third to $325 million as a sharp decline in the yen jacked up fuel costs.

The carrier earned 33.3 billion yen or $325 million between April and December on sales of 1.2 trillion yen, up 7.1 percent from a year earlier.

"The main reason for the increase in operating expenses was a rise in fuel costs caused by the weakening of the Japanese yen," ANA said in a statement.

The yen's precipitous decline since late 2012, while giving a boost to Japanese exporters, has hurt its airlines by pushing up the cost of fuel, often a carrier's single-biggest expense.

ANA and domestic rival Japan Airlines, which said Friday its nine-month net profit turned down 12.2 percent to $1.2 billion, despite better sales on rising demand for international travel, were hit by the worldwide grounding of Boeing's next generation aircraft last year following a series of problems involving its battery pack.

Both companies are Boeing's biggest customer for the state-of-the-art plane, which resumed flying after the months' long grounding which forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Earlier this month, Japan Airlines grounded another one of its Dreamliner jets after "white smoke" was seen outside the cockpit window during maintenance, the latest in ongoing concerns over the lightweight jet that is seen as saving carriers on their fuel costs.

Japan's thorny ties with neighbours also depressed demand for flights to South Korea and China.

Tokyo is embroiled in separate territorial spats with both countries, and a consumer boycott of Japanese brands in late 2012 took a bite out of demand for flights through the first half of last year.

JAL noted that a pickup in Japan's economy owing to a government growth blitz also helped boost demand ahead of sales tax hike scheduled for April. (AFP)