The Air Canada logo is shown on a plane at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., on February 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

The Air Canada logo is shown on a plane at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., on February 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Air Canada posts ‘bleak’ financial results as Transat deal comes through

2020 the bleakest in the history of commercial aviation

MONTREAL — Air Canada says it lost $1.16 billion in the final three months of last year, releasing a financial report on the heels of last night’s news that the Canadian government approved Air Canada’s $190-million purchase of Transat A.T.

Air Canada’s fourth quarter financial report, released this morning, says the company had a net loss of $1.16 billion or $3.91 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with profit of $152 million or 56 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The airline’s operating revenue dropped to $827 million in the fourth quarter, down from $4.43 billion in the same three months of 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered air travel.

Analysts polled by financial data firm Refinitiv expected Air Canada to lose $735.67 million dollars, or $2.84 per share, on revenue of $885.36 million.

Chief executive Calin Rovinescu says the 2020 financial year was the bleakest in the history of commercial aviation, as the number of passengers declined 73 per cent following several years of record growth for Air Canada.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said last night that the proposed purchase of Transat A.T. by Air Canada will bring greater stability to Canada’s air transport market amid devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

Rovinescu, who will retire on Feb. 15, said in the financial report that he is also “very encouraged by the constructive nature of discussions” with the Government of Canada on sector-specific financial support over the last several weeks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021.

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