Japan Airlines Sees Slow International Recovery

The carrier said passenger demand the September quarter remained ‘tough.’ 

Japan Airlines (JAL) warned that the recovery on international routes is expected be slow, but the carrier is seeing domestic demand pick up this fall. 

“The prolonged COVID effect is making future air passenger demand unclear yet, and solid international passenger demand recovery is expected to take some more time because border restrictions are not likely to be lifted soon, mainly in Asian countries,” JAL said in a Nov. 2 statement released with its latest quarterly results.  

JAL continued: “Contrary, the current domestic passenger demand is steadily recovering from October with the lift of the declaration of [Japan’s COVID-19] state of emergency, together with the decreasing number of new infection and patients in serious condition.” 

In the six months ended Sept. 30, the first half of JAL’s fiscal year, the carrier reported overall capacity down 52.8% compared to the same period in 2019.  

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“We responded to the decrease of demand by making continuous efforts of reducing our capacity to minimize our operating cost,” JAL said. 

JAL reiterated that “the prolonged COVID-19 [pandemic] still made international passenger demand [in the September quarter] very limited … and the domestic passenger demand also showed a slow recovery. Overall, passenger demand remained in a tough circumstance.” 

The airline noted that, conversely, its cargo business is thriving, citing “an excessive demand caused by the decrease of passenger flight capacity and strong air cargo demand, especially on international routes.” 

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