JAPAN: Still some turbulence in Japan’s air cargo sector

A mixture of asset write-downs, restructuring, consolidation and recovery is on the cards for the Japanese airfreight sector, according to a new report from Business Monitor International (BMI). The bankrupt Japan Airlines (JAL), Asia’s largest air carrier, was expected to have registered an operating loss of nearly US$1.7 billion in the fiscal year ended 31 […]


A mixture of asset write-downs, restructuring, consolidation and recovery is on the cards for the Japanese airfreight sector, according to a new report from Business Monitor International (BMI). The bankrupt Japan Airlines (JAL), Asia’s largest air carrier, was expected to have registered an operating loss of nearly US$1.7 billion in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2010. This was attributed to a sharp decline in revenues resulting from a rapid slowdown in the Japanese economy.

After 2009’s very steep falls in volumes, the Japanese airfreight sector is now enjoying a recovery, according to BMI, which is forecasting cargo volumes to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2010, a small improvement after 2009’s 10.9 per cent slump, but “nevertheless a move in the right direction”, according to the report. Air freight carried (RTKs) will rise a little more strongly, up by 4.8 per cent.

JAL and two subsidiaries appealed for bankruptcy protection in January 2010, with a combined debt of US$25 billion and a government-ordered restructuring is currently underway. Meanwhile, JAL reported a 12.7 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in international cargo volume to 49,454 tonnes in April, compared with an increase of 32.9 per cent y-o-y in March 2010. In the same period, JAL’s domestic cargo volume rose by 4.3 per cent y-o-y to 38,050 tonnes, compared with 9.6 per cent y-o-y in March 2010.