By Charlotte Seet
ANA Foresees Rebound Despite Annual Loss
Air Nippon Airways reported the largest annual loss in its history on April 30, but the airline foresees a rebound back to profitability this financial year, with its vice president seeing “light at the end of the tunnel” after the Covid-19 pandemic.
From April 2020-March 2021, ANA Holdings reported a record net loss of 404.6 billion yen ($3.72 billion), compared with its recorded net profit of $252.6 million in the prior 12 months.
The loss was smaller than the firm’s initial projection after it had tried to cut costs in areas from staff personnel and fuel to airport usage fees, as well as the retirement of some aircraft that came sooner than initially planned.
Despite the loss, Japan’s biggest airline still expects to see a $32 million net profit for the year lasting through March 2022, as the coronavirus disruption that has shattered the aviation industry globally begins to ease, and as vaccinations programs are increasing.
The aviation industry “has faced an unprecedented contraction as a result of diminished passenger demand caused by immigration restrictions and stay-at-home orders in many countries,” ANA said in a statement.
Its international passenger services saw a decline of 95.5% in customer volume to 427,000 people while domestic flights experienced a 70.5% decline to 12.6 million passengers.
ANA’s annual sales dropped 63.1% to $6.7 billion while it also suffered an operating loss of $4.3 billion.
The airline is now seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ichiro Fukuzawa, executive vice president and chief financial officer, in a statement. “Our employees have endured a challenging year, but COVID-19 did not stop us from continuously improving our services, and we are ready to welcome back our customers.”
Vaccination efforts worldwide should help boost demand for aviation this year, ANA said, and for the year to March 2022, the firm expects to see sales of $12.6 billion, up 89.4%.
Japan’s hosting of the Summer Olympics also plays a crucial factor in boosting the aviation economy, as organizers of the games are set to release an updated version of the “” that lay out the safety measures being put in place to enable the Tokyo Games to start as scheduled in less than three months, with vows to “deploy all possible countermeasures and place the highest priority on safety.”
Games organizers have hosted nationwide festivities, including events around the, in recent months, hoping to drum up excitement as the Summer Games opening ceremony approaches.
However, with the slow roll-out of vaccines in Japan amongst the country’s own citizens, many members of the public are still uncertain as to whether the massive international event can be held safely.
The head of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said that he still remains committed, alongside Japanese organizers, to holding a safe and successful Olympics.