By Allison Lampert (Reuters) – Air Canada said on Friday it would weigh possible cancellations of aircraft orders from Boeing and Airbus after COVID-19 crippled air travel and pushed the carrier into a second-quarter loss. It was the airline’s second straight quarterly loss as it felt the impact of the pandemic, but it said it […]
Air Canada weighs order cancellations, blames travel restrictions, after second-quarter loss
By Allison Lampert
(Reuters) – Air Canada said on Friday it would weigh possible cancellations of aircraft orders from Boeing and Airbus after COVID-19 crippled air travel and pushed the carrier into a second-quarter loss.
It was the airline’s second straight quarterly loss as it felt the impact of the pandemic, but it said it expected cash burn to slow slightly in the third quarter.
Air Canada shares dropped 6% in afternoon trade.
The carrier blamed Canadian travel restrictions, which it called among the most severe in the world, even as rising COVID-19 cases in the United States dampen broader industry hopes for a swift recovery in air travel.
Air Canada cabin crew workers on Friday echoed the carrier in urging a Canadian government bailout of the country’s airlines if it will not relax restrictions.
“Without government industry support and as travel restrictions are extended, we will look at other opportunities to further reduce costs and capital, including further route suspensions and possible cancellations of Boeing and Airbus aircraft on order, including the Airbus A220,” Air Canada Chief Executive Officer Calin Rovinescu told analysts.
The A220 is manufactured in the Canadian province of Quebec in a plant previously owned by Bombardier.
On Friday, Canada extended a ban on foreigners entering the country to Aug. 31. It had previously extended restrictions on non-essential travel at U.S. borders through Aug 21.
Canadians who enter the country from abroad must self-isolate for two weeks.
“We know that airlines are facing significant challenges, and we will continue to engage with them and closely monitor the situation in the hard-hit aviation sector,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in an emailed statement.
Air Canada expects third-quarter capacity to decline 80%. The airline saw a 96% drop in passengers carried during the second quarter.
European airlines have also urged Canada to remove travel restrictions.
“Many, many Canadians write to us and tell us that they want to travel and the biggest impediment, and we did our own polling of this, the biggest impediment (is) the quarantine,” Rovinescu said.
Air Canada forecast third-quarter net cash burn of between C$15 million ($11.18 million) and C$17 million per day on average, compared with net cash burn of about C$19 million per day in the previous quarter.
The airline reported a loss of C$1.75 billion, or C$6.44 per share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared with a profit of C$343 million, or C$1.26 per share, a year earlier.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru. Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Aditya Soni, Susan Fenton and Paul Simao)