Air travel: Air Canada looks to avoid summer mistakes | Tech US News



Air Canada is looking to avoid a repeat of last summer’s widespread disruptions as it heads into the busy holiday travel season.

The company learned valuable lessons during the “operationally challenging” summer months that it is applying to current operations as travel demand continues to recover, Chief Executive Michael Rousseau said on Friday.

After operational improvements at the end of the summer, the airline is now operating at pre-pandemic levels while continuing to increase staff numbers, it said in a news release.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused,” Rousseau said.

With canceled flights and summer airport congestion still fresh in the minds of many travelers, he sought to reassure passengers about the lessons the airline has learned.

“With customers booking their winter and holiday travel, they can have full confidence in our ability to transport them safely and comfortably.”

While travel disruptions continued throughout July, there were improvements in August and September that helped Air Canada carry about 11.5 million passengers in the third quarter and reach its first positive operating income since the pandemic began.

The positive results sent the airline’s shares up 3.7 percent to more than $20 on Friday morning, the highest the stock has been since June, when the operational disruptions began.

The airline said it had $644 million in operating income for the quarter, compared with an operating loss of $364 million in the third quarter of 2021.

In addition to high demand, this quarter also saw high ticket prices that helped offset fuel costs, said Walter Spracklin, an analyst at RBC Dominion Securities.

An unfavorable exchange rate has added to the high price of jet fuel, which has risen more than 80 percent since the third quarter of 2021, said Amos Kazzaz, chief financial officer of Air Canada.

An improved passenger load of 86 percent, up from 71 percent in 2021, also helped mitigate these costs, as fuller planes also led to better-than-expected cost-per-seat reductions, Spracklin said.

Air Canada reported that its capacity, measured as available seat miles, for the quarter was up 130 percent from a year ago, while its traffic, measured in revenue passenger miles, was up 179.5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2021.

Overall, Air Canada reported a net loss of $508 million in its third quarter compared with a loss of $640 million in the same quarter last year, as it ramped up its operations and more than doubled its revenue.

While the airline doesn’t expect to return to 2019 capacity levels before 2024, Rousseau said he likes where the airline is right now from “a demand perspective, a performance perspective and from a capacity perspective.”

The airline says the loss rose to $1.42 per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $1.79 per diluted share a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter was $5.32 billion, up from $2.1 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 28, 2022.


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