JAL suffers $1 billion Q1 loss

TOKYO: Japan Airlines Corp. said Friday it posted a $1 billion loss in the April-May quarter, larger than its loss for all of last year, as ticket sales suffered due to the weak economy and swine flu fears.

Asia's biggest airline said its net loss was 99 billion yen ($1 billion), versus a 3.4 billion yen loss a year earlier. Sales fell 32 percent to 334.9 billion yen from billion yen.

JAL, which is in the midst of a massive restructuring, said income fell across both domestic and international routes, as well as its shipping business. The company said the losses came despite lower outlays for fuel and wages, in part because of lower income from fuel surcharges during the period.

As part of the plan, which aims to cut costs by 53 billion yen this fiscal year and a total of 100 billion yen next, JAL said Friday it would cut the number of weekly flights on eight international routes, cut two routes all together, and downgrade to smaller planes on a host of other routes.

The company said domestic passengers fell 13 percent during the quarter, while international passengers were down 17 percent, compared to a year earlier.

For the current fiscal year through March, JAL kept its forecast for a 63 billion net loss and revenue of 1.75 trillion yen.

JAL shares fell 1.2 percent to 166 yen on Friday. The airline released its results during trading, but most of the fall came before the announcement.