Business

Air Canada posts $1.7B quarterly loss as COVID-19 walloped travel demand

Air Canada is reporting a $1.75 billion loss in its latest quarter as revenues plummeted 89 per cent as a result of the grounding of most flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airline lost almost $20M a day through April, May and June

Demand for flights has plummeted during the pandemic, which is the main reason why Air Canada lost almost $20 million a day in April, May and June. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada is reporting a $1.75 billion loss in its latest quarter as revenues plummeted 89 per cent as a result of the grounding of most flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Montreal-based airline says it lost $6.44 per diluted share, compared with net income equalling $1.26 per share or $343 million a year earlier.

Revenues for the three months ended June 30 were $527 million, down from $4.74 billion in the second quarter of 2019. Passenger revenues fell to $207 million while cargo revenues increased 52 per cent to $269 million.

Air Canada was expected to lose $1 billion or $3.96 per share on $436.3 million of revenues, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The country's largest airline says it has access to $9.12 billion of cash after raising $5.5 billion in new equity, debt and aircraft financings since March.

It cut spending in large part by reducing management and front-line workers to save $1.3 billion, permanently retiring 79 aircraft representing more than 30 per cent of its overall fleet, suspending some domestic routes and cutting its network capacity by 92 per cent.

"As with many other major airlines worldwide, Air Canada's second-quarter results confirm the devastating and unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed travel and border restrictions and quarantine requirements," stated CEO Calin Rovinescu.

"Canada's federal and inter-provincial restrictions have been among the most severe in the world, effectively shutting down most commercial aviation in our country, which, together with otherwise fragile demand, resulted in Air Canada carrying less than four per cent of the passengers carried during last year's second quarter."

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