Depressed markets resulting from the March tsunami and earthquake have cut into Japan Airlines’ profit. Reported revenue-tonne kilometers, which dropped 52.2 percent, year-over year, in the first half of fiscal-year 2011, wasn’t the only area of loss for the airline.
Domestic capacity also fell 17.4 percent, year-over-year, from April to the end of September; according to a spokesperson, this drop in capacity was due to JAL officials removing unprofitable routes during the carrier’s restructuring period. The cargo sector, which profited ¥12.1 billion during the six-month period, did see increased volumes of perishables on routes to Hokkaido, Kyushu and Okinawa after July, however.
JAL also transported increased quantities of auto parts and humanitarian supplies in the first half of fiscal 2011. The goods, flown largely on international routes, helped the carrier profit ¥27 billion from cargo during this period. The internationalization of Toyko’s Haneda Airport also stimulated demand for air transportation, a JAL spokesman revealed.
Nevertheless, tonnage took a drastic nosedive in the first half of fiscal 2011. Passenger volumes for the carrier also declined during this period, although the losses were less pronounced.
Sluggish freight traffic isn’t a phenomenon unique to Asia-Pacific carriers, however. It’s an issue reported worldwide, International Air Transport Association Director General Tony Tyler explained last month.
“Freight demand contracted for a fifth consecutive month [in September], and this trend is in line with falling business and consumer confidence,” Tyler said in a statement. “We are still expecting a general weakening in passenger traffic as we head toward the year-end.”