April 30, 2020 / 7:26 AM / in a month

JAL forgoes earnings forecast, dividend amid coronavirus uncertainty

FILE PHOTO: An employee of Japan Airlines (JAL), wearing protective mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is pictured at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Airlines (9201.T) on Thursday declined to release an annual earnings forecast or pay a shareholder dividend amid uncertainty over the future of air travel as the coronavirus pandemic saps demand for flights.

“In order to secure liquidity at hand, the company has determined not to provide a year-end dividend,” JAL said in a press release

Japan Airlines, and larger rival ANA Holdings (9202.T) have halted nearly international passenger flights and most domestic services since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

ANA on Tuesday also said it will release an earnings forecast when it can better assess business conditions.

JAL, which before the pandemic had expected operating profit of 140 billion yen ($1.3 billion) for the business year that ended March 31, posted 100 billion yen operating profit for the year.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; editing by David Evans

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