Foreign Currency

Japan Airlines CEO describes weak yen as a ‘big problem’


Japan’s weak currency is a “big problem,” Japan Airlines CEO Mitsuko Tottori has said in a group interview, adding that a stronger rate than the current level of around ¥155 to the dollar would be better.

“We often discuss that the yen at 130 level will be good,” Tottori said at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo on Wednesday, adding that much of the airline’s expenses are in foreign currency. “It’s a big problem.”

Tottori, a former flight attendant, became Japan Airlines’ first female president on April 1. The carrier announced last month an order to buy 42 new Boeing and Airbus SE jets in a multibillion dollar order to expand its international network. The Japanese currency, which is trading at 34-year-low, is also hurting outbound travel, Tottori said.

Although Airbus made up the larger share of the recent aircraft order, Japan Airlines won’t rely only on the European planemaker to build its fleet, Tottori said.

Japan Airlines will seek to ensure that its Boeing orders are delivered on time; the U.S. manufacturer has come under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators following a near-catastrophic blowout of a fuselage panel on a 737 Max 9 during flight in early January.

“We still have reliable relations with Boeing and believe the company will be able to overcome the ongoing troubles,” Tottori said. “We have no intention to lean toward Airbus and will make choices that suit our business plans.”



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