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February 4, 2013 10:20 am
Boeing’s most advanced aircraft has been grounded indefinitely since last month following unsolved battery problems, including a fire on a JAL plane in Boston.
Following that incident, an All Nippon Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a smoke alarm went off, triggering the Dreamliner’s grounding worldwide.
JAL, with seven Dreamliners, owns the second-largest fleet of the 787 after ANA and was expecting to take delivery of three more of the aircraft within the fiscal year.
However, with the grounding of the Dreamliner, those deliveries have been postponed and JAL has had to push back its launch of scheduled flights from Tokyo’s international airport at Narita to Helsinki.
“The most important thing is to be able to fly the 787 safely again, rather than compensation. So, obviously, we are preparing to discuss such matters when the situation comes under control, but we are not talking [to Boeing] about that yet,” Yoshiharu Ueki, JAL’s president said on Monday.
Last month, ANA, which owns 17 Dreamliners, said it would consider whether to seek compensation, once the problem was resolved.
Nevertheless, JAL brushed aside the negative impact from the Dreamliner’s grounding, which it said would cost it a net Y700m ($7.5m), by the fiscal year-end. While revenues will be reduced by Y1.1bn, costs will also come down by Y400m, JAL said.
In spite of the Dreamliner problems, JAL raised its net profit forecast for the year to the end of March to Y163bn, from a previous forecast of Y140bn. Revenues are forecast to be Y1.23tn, up from an earlier forecast of Y1.22bn.
Expectations of better than previously forecast profits are supported by strong demand on routes between Japan and the US, Europe and Southeast Asia, JAL said.
However, traffic between Japan and China has been negatively affected by a bilateral dispute over islands in the East China Sea, which both countries claim sovereignty over.
The forecast results are still lower than JAL’s net profit of Y186.6bn last year, on revenues of Y1.21tn. JAL blamed the decline on higher costs stemming from investments to retrofit the 777 and higher fuel costs.
In the three months to the end of December, before the 787 was grounded, JAL suffered a 16 per cent decline in net profit to Y40.9bn.
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