Source: Bloomberg News | 2013-2-5 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
JAPAN Airlines Co has raised its annual operating profit forecast by almost 13 percent as demand for travel to Europe and the US outweighed the impact of the grounding of its Boeing 787s.
The Tokyo-based carrier, whose seven Dreamliners make up about 3 percent of its fleet, is forecasting a net income of 163 billion yen (US$1.8 billion) in the year ending March 31, compared with an earlier prediction of 140 billion yen.
Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways Co (ANA), the world's biggest operator of 787s, and six other airlines halted Dreamliner flights after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the planes following a lithium-ion battery fire and an emergency landing by an ANA plane.
"The impact on JAL is relatively small," said Nicholas Cunningham, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities (Japan) Ltd. "At this point it's slightly negative, but it's potentially possible it will be offset through other measures."
The grounding will cut sales by 1.1 billion yen through March, JAL said yesterday.
Shares of JAL, which relisted last year after a trip through bankruptcy, rose 1.2 percent to close at 3,815 yen before the forecast announcement.
ANA said last week that cancellations of 787 flights cut 1.4 billion yen from sales in January. The carrier, which has no buffer of planes to cover its 17 Dreamliners, has pulled 830 Dreamliner flights from January 16 to February 18.
Aviation regulators in the United States, Japan and other nations ordered airlines to park their 787s after an ANA plane made an emergency landing in Takamatsu, Japan, on January 16. A week earlier there had been a battery fire on a JAL Dreamliner aircraft in Boston.
Airlines have so far received 50 of the aircraft, which entered service 16 months ago.
The 787 is Boeing's most advanced jet and uses new technology such as carbon-fiber materials to save weight and improve efficiency. ANA and JAL together have signed up for 111 Dreamliners.