TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest airline, ANA Holdings Inc reported on Tuesday a small third-quarter operating profit of 100 million yen ($869,716) and maintained its full-year guidance despite the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The slightly-above-breakeven figure for the quarter ended Dec. 31 – its first time in the black in eight quarters – was better than the average 16.5 billion yen operating loss forecast by five analysts polled by Refinitiv.

It also beat ANA’s target of returning to an operating profit in the fourth quarter.

For the 12 months to March 2022, ANA maintained its forecast for an operating loss of 125 billion yen. That compares with the average 130.6 billion yen loss predicted by 11 analysts polled by Refinitiv.

The airline said passenger demand for domestic flights had improved greatly in October after Japan lifted a pandemic-related state of emergency.

ANA also benefited from cost cuts and record air cargo revenues during the third quarter, though international passenger travel remains depressed due to border restrictions.

In the current quarter, however, it faces potential headwinds from record COVID-19 case numbers in the domestic market.

Japan last week expanded regions subject to tighter coronavirus curbs to cover 70% of the country, as the government tried to counter a wave of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

The curbs will run until Feb. 20, empowering regional governors to ask restaurants and bars to shorten their business hours and to stop serving alcohol.

An index gauging Japanese consumer confidence fell 2.4 points in January to its lowest since August, a government survey showed on Monday, in a sign the record infections due to the Omicron variant were hurting sentiment.

($1 = 114.9800 yen)

(Reporting by Maki Shiraki in Tokyo and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Kim Coghill)