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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 07:58 GMT
JAL profits more than halve
A JAL Boeing 747
JAL is only slightly exposed to the suffering US market
Japan Airlines has suffered a heavy decline in first-half profit, as it continues to struggle with falling travel demand and higher costs in the wake of the 11 September attacks.

Net profit at Japan's biggest airline fell 61.3% to 16.4bn yen (94m; $135m) for the six months to end-September, while revenues remained broadly steady at 871bn yen.

The results fell short of analysts' expectations, but were not dismal enough to prompt the airline to lower its full-year forecast of a net loss of 40bn.

If JAL meets that target, it would represent a year-on-year profit decline of 5.9% - a modest fall in comparison with the shattering collapse in results endured by many other international airlines.

Sheltered from the storm

Unlike many of its international peers, JAL is only slightly exposed to the US market, where airline results have been hardest hit.

And JAL said it had made efforts to reduce operating costs, and received some benefit from the weak yen.

Shares in JAL had closed up more than 5% before the announcement, outperforming even a strong performance from the Tokyo market.

The airline has recently announced plans to merge with Japan Air System, the country's third-largest airline, in a deal that will form the world's sixth-biggest carrier.

If the JAL-JAS merger comes off, it will represent the first significant airline tie-up since the September attacks.

See also:

12 Nov 01 | Business
Japanese airlines consider merger
12 Oct 01 | Business
Japan airline tumbles into loss
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