Despite record losses, Air Canada CEO optimistic over government aid talks

©Air Canada

Air Canada has reported a net loss for the 2020 fiscal year of CA$4.65 billion, or CA$16.47 per diluted share compared to a net income of CA$1.45 billion, or CA$5.44 per diluted share, in 2019, also reporting a net loss of CA$1.16 billion, or $3.91 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, compared to a profit of CA$152 million, or 56 cents per diluted share, in 2019. In the fourth quarter, the airline burned through CA$15 million cash per day, bringing the 2020 cash burn to CA$4.67 billion.

Despite the results reflecting what he described as “the bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said he is “very encouraged” by ongoing discussions with the federal government.“ Rovinescu said on a conference call with analysts on Friday, February 12: “In Canada, we continue to contend with a patchwork of new and ever-changing travel restrictions that are stifling travel demand, impacting our ability to operate or plan, and even preventing us from formulating reliable financial guidance.”

Rovinescu said that any deal with the government will include a resolution on passenger refunds, a return of regional routes as well as a form of support for the aerospace sector. “While there’s no assurances at this stage that we will arrive at a definitive agreement on sector support, I am more optimistic on this front,” he said.

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