ANA Holdings returns to black in April-September for the first time in 3 years

ANA Holdings Inc said Monday it made a net profit for the six months ending September, marking its first black ink for the period in three years, as travel demand rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parent company of All Nippon Airways Co. posted a net profit of 19.54 billion yen for the reporting period, a reversal from a net loss of 98.80 billion yen a year ago, as more people started to fly for pleasure and business after the easing of COVID restrictions.

Operating profit came in at 31.45 billion yen, also returning to profitability from an operating loss of 116.01 billion yen the previous year. Sales increased 83.4% to 790.72 billion yen.

“We were able to take advantage of the upturn,” CEO Koji Shibata said at a news conference.

The airline said demand for domestic and international flights is now 74% and 35% of the pre-pandemic level, respectively.

He also said he expects demand for domestic flights to pick up to the 2019 level by March next year, while it will likely take an extra year for international flights to reach pre-pandemic level.

But Shibata said the pace of pick-up in demand for domestic and international flights this fiscal year may be faster than the airline’s projections.

Based on the performance improvement, the company increased its net profit outlook for the current fiscal year through March to 40 billion yen from a previous projection of 21 billion yen.

The sales forecasts have also been revised up to 1.7 trillion yen, from the previous projection of 1.66 trillion yen.

The company also said it aims to achieve a record operating profit of 200 billion yen by March 2026, as it builds on the upturn and strengthens non-flight operations such as the expansion of its mileage services.

The improvement in performance is due to the government easing restrictions on the coronavirus, increasing the number of people vaccinated, and the fact that the widespread variant of the Omicron virus has proved less dangerous than previous strains.

Japan lifted antivirus restrictions in all parts of the country at the end of March, while this year it gradually increased its limit of daily international arrivals before completely removing it earlier this month.