All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, which together operate nearly half the world's fleet of 787 Dreamliners, estimate the jet's three-month grounding will shave a combined USD$110 million off operating profit, an expense they may ask Boeing to shoulder.
ANA estimates the revenue loss from mid-January up to the end of May from being unable to sell flights on its 787s at JPY¥12.5 billion (USD$127.36 million), with the subsequent operating profit loss at around half that level or around JPY¥6.5 billion.
The 787 squeeze on its earnings may have been enough to push ANA into a JPY¥3.6 billion loss in the three months ended March 31, Kiyoshi Tonomoto, a vice president at the airline, said at a briefing in Tokyo.
JAL, with seven Dreamliners, said the loss of 787 flights to the end of May plus the cancellation of charters this business year may add up to a dip in operating profit of JPY¥4 billion.
Both carriers reported their annual results on Tuesday with ANA saying operating profit in the year that ended March 31 rose 7 percent to JPY¥103.8 billion, while JAL posted a 4.7 percent dip in operating profit to JPY¥195 billion.
The latest estimates from the two Japanese carriers provide the best indication yet of how big a compensation bill Boeing may face once all 50 787s are back in the air. ANA will seek a cash payment from Boeing, a source familiar with the airline's intentions told Reuters in March.
ANA on Sunday took its first 787 back into the air more than three months after batteries on two of them overheated in mid-January, one on an ANA plane in Japan and another on a JAL jet parked at Boston's Logan airport. A day earlier Ethiopian Airlines became the first carrier to resume flying 787s after regulators gave the go-ahead for flights to restart.
ANA and JAL say they will begin compensation talks with Boeing once commercial flights are restarted.
With hundreds of 787 test flights planned in May to test reinforced battery systems, revenue generating operations are unlikely to begin until June at the earliest.
United Airlines, the only US carrier with the jet, said it would begin commercial flights on May 31. Eight airlines currently operate 787s and in addition to United, ANA and JAL include Air India, LATAM Airlines, Qatar Airways and LOT Polish Airlines.
In addition to the battery fix approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau has requested JAL and ANA to monitor battery current while the jet is in the air and regularly inspect used batteries.
The revamped battery is less prone to heat build-up, has a redesigned charger and is encased in a stainless-steel box capable of withstanding an explosion. The new system also includes a metal exhaust tube to vent any gases outside the aircraft if it overheats.
The halt to 787 flights has cost Boeing an estimated USD$600 million and forced it to halt deliveries.
The US aircraft maker on Saturday said it is, nonetheless, still on course to raise production to seven a month by mid-year and increase it up to 10 a month by the end of the year.