Markets News

UPDATE 1-Japan's ANA posts $1.5 bln Q1 loss as COVID-19 curbs travel

(Adds quote, details)

TOKYO, July 29 (Reuters) - Japan’s biggest air carrier, ANA Holdings Inc, on Wednesday reported an operating loss of 159 billion yen ($1.51 billion) for the quarter from April to June and gave no annual forecast, but said recovery to pre-COVID demand would be slow.

Chief Financial Officer Ichiro Fukuzawa said ANA hoped to issue some form of guidance for the current fiscal year at its half-year results announcement.

In recent years ANA unveiled its mid-year results in late October or early November. The date of this year’s announcement hasn’t been set exactly yet.

The company is targeting the end of fiscal year 2021 for a recovery in demand on domestic routes, Fukuzawa told an online press conference.

“As for international routes, it (demand) will gradually recover toward the end of fiscal year 2023,” Fukuzawa said.

ANA’s loss compared with a year-earlier profit of 16.1 billion yen. First-quarter revenue plunged 76% to 121.6 billion yen.

All airlines are suffering after the pandemic forced countries to impose movement restrictions and people are still wary of travelling.

The lifting of a state of emergency in Japan at the end of May brought back some domestic travel, but an uptick in novel coronavirus infections in recent weeks forced the carrier to scale back its revival plans.

Japan confirmed 1,002 new infections on Wednesday, marking the first instance of more than 1,000 new cases in a single day, broadcaster NHK said.

ANA’s projection on a return to international travel is broadly in line with the latest outlook from a global airlines body released on Tuesday.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it would take until 2024 for passenger traffic to return to pre-crisis levels.

$1=104.9900 yen Reporting by Maki Shiraki, Chang-Ran Kim and Daniel Leussink; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Barbara Lewis