Japan Airlines Co posted its biggest quarterly net loss in at least eight years and decided to forgo paying an interim dividend as it contends with the devastating impact of the coronavirus.
The carrier’s first-quarter loss was 93.7 billion yen ($89 million), the most since it re-listed on the Tokyo stock exchange in 2012 after emerging from bankruptcy. Since then, it only posted one other quarterly loss; in January-March of this year.
The covid-19 outbreak has damaged the aviation industry globally and forced airlines into unprecedented cutbacks. The International Air Transport Association doesn’t expect a full recovery until at least 2024. While the Japanese government hasn’t called a lockdown and travel restrictions have been relatively lax, there’s been a resurgence in virus cases.
JAL’s loss was worse than the 91.8 billion yen average forecast of two analysts, and the carrier warned it would take time for international demand to recover. A pickup in domestic demand has stalled as well, due to the recent flareup in cases.
JAL, which said it has an unused 200 billion yen credit line, saw sales drop 78% to 76 billion yen in the quarter.