Almost a month after announcing a $ 5.9 billion aid plan with Ottawa, Air Canada wants to know when the sky will really get better.
To this end, the airline is asking Ottawa to develop and disclose a plan that would allow the resumption of international travel to and from Canada. Canadians are “eager to travel” and “want to know when” they can, airline chief and CEO Michael Russo said during a conference call with analysts on Friday.
Although the restrictions have been in place for “14 months,” the vaccination rate is increasing and the senior president believes it is “time” for Ottawa to plan “next steps.” “The forced quarantine at the hotel on arrival turned out to be ineffective. It should be abolished,” Russo decided. He said he believed an approach that combined “modified and more appropriate” testing and quarantine would strike the right balance.
Air Canada, which is currently burning capital at $ 14 million per day, estimates that the return to profitability depends entirely on when the government lifts restrictions and reopens markets.
The airline asked analysts to monitor the resumption of business flights “very carefully” and expects the resumption of travel within Labor Day in early September.
There is evidence of these clients’ travel resumption in the United States. There is a “real appetite for business for recovery in travel,” said Lucy Guillemette, Vice President and Chief Business Officer. For now, mandatory quarantine is “the most discouraging.”
However, corporate clients consulted by Air Canada intend to reduce the number of round-trip flights that take place on the same day, he said, “but from an international and cross-border perspective, the intention is to appeal.”
In terms of leisure travel, the company also said it expects to postpone the seasonal summer peak slightly to September and October. It also indicates “strong demand” for sunny destinations during the winter, “as Canadians eagerly start planning their first vacations after the epidemic ends.” Demand from Canada will be particularly strong for Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Hawaii and Florida.
Refund: No rush
Although Air Canada owes billions of dollars on canceled tickets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its customers are in no hurry to claim the amount due as they only have a few weeks to take advantage of it. Ottawa.
“We were a little surprised,” Amos Qazzaz, Canadian Airlines vice president and chief financial officer, admitted Friday in response to a financial analyst. “The take-off was much slower than expected, despite all the media coverage we’ve seen. We continue to proactively communicate with our customers, proactively, to remind them if they have tickets that qualify for a refund.”
Mr. Qazzaz did not specify how many tickets had been refunded yet and the airline’s communications department had not responded to a request to this effect from The Canadian Press at the time of publication. In February, the company said it had $ 2.3 billion in ticket sales in the most recent quarter.
The country’s largest airline does not automatically process approvals of its customers whose money it was withholding, but it does require them to request a refund. And time is running out. Passengers have until June 12th to apply online or through a travel agency if required.
The trader suffered a net loss of $ 1.3 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, compared to a loss of $ 1 billion in the same period last year, or $ 3.90 a share, compared to $ 4. The quarterly revenue was $ 729 million. . Down from $ 3.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020.