MONTREAL — Air Canada has posted fourth quarter operating revenues of $2.73 billion, more than triple the $827 million recorded in the same period of 2020.
The airline’s net loss for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2021 was $493 million, compared with a net loss of $1.16 billion a year before.
“The unpredictable course of COVID-19 made 2021 extremely challenging for Air Canada and the global airline industry. But the sequential and year-over-year improvement in Air Canada’s fourth quarter results shows the underlying recovery remains intact despite the omicron variant,” says Air Canada’s President and CEO, Michael Rousseau.
Before the omicron surge upset the airline industry’s recovery plans, Air Canada’s ticket sales reached 65% of pre-pandemic levels in October and November. “These are all encouraging indicators,” says Rousseau.
“Moreover, robust advance ticket sales, which grew almost $400 million in the quarter, give us confidence that our customers will keep returning and that omicron’s effect on our business is travel deferred, not cancelled.” Air Canada’s transformed Aeroplan program reported strong billings, plus ACV bookings “sharply rebounded,” he added.
By the end of 2021, Air Canada’s network covered 118 gateways, up from 70 at the start of 2021. The average number of daily flights rose to 665 in December 2021 from 245 in January 2021. Air Canada has also recalled more than 10,000 employees, including 3,900 in Q4, and has also started hiring new employees.
“As we move into 2022, all expectations are that the recovery in air travel will continue, albeit unevenly,” said Rousseau. “Nonetheless, we believe the regeneration of our business will gain momentum. To this end, we are working cooperatively with governments as they look to adapt their policies, based on science, and taking into account the significant health and safety measures Air Canada and the airline industry have implemented, to allow Canada to capture the economic benefits of the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which will be derived from increased trade and travel.”