Robust demand from foreign travelers to Japan boosted profits of the country's two major airlines in fiscal 2015, according to their earnings reports released Thursday.
ANA Holdings Inc. reported a record group net profit of 78.17 billion yen ($723 million) for the year through March 31, roughly double the amount reported a year earlier.
The parent of All Nippon Airways Co. said its consolidated operating profit grew 49.1 percent to 136.46 billion yen on sales of 1.79 trillion yen, up 4.5 percent.
Another major air carrier, Japan Airlines Co., saw a 17.1 percent year-on-year increase in its group net profit to 174.47 billion yen. Its operating profit hit a record high of 209.19 billion yen, up 16.4 percent, even as sales were down 0.6 percent to 1.34 trillion yen.
In fiscal 2015, ANA had 8.17 million passengers on its international flights, topping rival JAL that carried 8.08 million. More than 20 million foreign visitors arrived in Japan in fiscal 2015, according to a government estimate.
Yuji Hirako, executive vice president of ANA Holdings, told a press briefing that the yen's weakness against other currencies encouraged travel to Japan.
"We saw inbound (passengers) account for around 3 percent of the total" for domestic flights, Hirako added.
The number of domestic passengers for ANA stood at 42.66 million, which compared with 32.11 million for JAL.
The release of the earnings results came amid growth concerns about China and other emerging economies that could weigh on consumer sentiment. Uncertainty remains over the impact on corporate earnings of the recent deadly earthquakes that hit southwestern Japan.
For fiscal 2016 through next March, ANA expects a group net profit of 80 billion yen, up 2.3 percent, and operating profit of 145 billion yen, up 6.3 percent, on sales of 1.81 trillion yen, up 1.1 percent.
JAL's consolidated net profit is projected at 192 billion yen, up 10 percent, and operating profit at 201 billion yen, up 3.9 percent, on sales of 1.34 trillion yen, up 0.5 percent.
© Kyodo News International, Inc., source Newswire