Japan's biggest airline ANA reported its worst ever annual loss on Friday but predicted a rebound to profit this financial year, with its vice president seeing "light by the end of the tunnel" following the pandemic.
For days gone by year to March, ANA Holdings logged an archive net lack of 404.6 billion yen ($3.72 billion), weighed against net profit of 27.6 billion yen in the previous 12 months.
The loss was smaller compared to the firm's earlier projection, after it sought to spend less in areas from personnel and fuel to airport utilization fees, and retired some aircraft earlier than planned.
Nonetheless it expects to see a 3.5 billion yen net profit for the entire year to March 2022, as the coronavirus disruption that has battered the aviation industry worldwide commences to ease.
The sector "has faced an unprecedented contraction therefore of diminished passenger demand caused by immigration restrictions and stay-at-home orders in lots of countries", ANA said in a statement.
Its international passenger services saw a 95.5 percent plunge in customer volume to 427,000 people, while domestic flights experienced a 70.5 percent fall to 12.6 million customers.
ANA's total annual sales dropped 63.1 percent to 728.7 billion yen although it suffered an operating loss of 464.8 billion yen.
But the airline is currently seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel", said Ichiro Fukuzawa, executive vice president and chief financial officer, in a statement.
"Our employees have endured a challenging year, but COVID-19 didn't stop us from continually bettering our services, and we are ready to welcome back our customers," he added.
Vaccination efforts worldwide should help boost demand for aviation this season, ANA said.
For the entire year to March 2022, the firm expects to see sales of just one 1.38 trillion yen, up 89.4 percent.
The results were announced as trading closed on the Tokyo STOCK MARKET, where ANA holdings were able to stay static in positive territory throughout the day.
It closed up 1.13 percent at 2,505 yen, while the headline Nikkei index lost 0.83 percent.