Air Canada is looking to avoid a repeat of the widespread disruptions of last summer as it heads into the busy holiday travel season.
The company learned valuable lessons during the “operationally challenging” summer months it is applying to current operations as travel demand continues to recover, chief executive Michael Rousseau said Friday.
After operational improvements in late summer, the airline is now operating at pre-pandemic levels as it continues to increase staffing, it said in a press release.
“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that has occurred,” said Rousseau.
With canceled flights and the summer airport stall still fresh in the minds of many travelers, he sought to reassure passengers of the lessons the airline has learned.
“With customers booking their winter trips and vacations, they can have complete confidence in our ability to transport them safely and conveniently.”
Although travel disruptions continued throughout July, improvements were recorded in August and September that helped Air Canada carry approximately 11.5 million passengers in the third quarter and achieve its first positive operating income since the start of the pandemic.
The positive results led the airline’s shares to rise 3.7% to over $ 20 on Friday morning, the stock’s highest level since June when the business disruptions began.
The airline said it had $ 644 million in operating income for the quarter, compared to an operating loss of $ 364 million in the third quarter of 2021.
In addition to high demand, this quarter also saw high ticket prices which helped offset fuel costs, said Walter Spracklin, analyst at RBC Dominion Securities.
An unfavorable exchange rate added to the high price of jet fuel, which has risen more than 80% since the third quarter of 2021, said Amos Kazzaz, Air Canada’s chief financial officer.
An 86 percent increase in passenger load, up from 71 percent in 2021, also helped mitigate these costs, as fuller planes also led to better-than-expected cost-per-seat reductions, Spracklin said.
Air Canada reported that its capacity, measured as available seat miles, for the quarter increased 130% from a year ago, while its traffic measured in passenger miles increased 179.5% from the third quarter. of 2021.
Overall, Air Canada posted a net loss of $ 508 million in its third quarter compared to a loss of $ 640 million in the same quarter last year as it stepped up operations and more than doubled its revenues.
Although the airline does not plan to return to 2019 capacity levels before 2024, Rousseau said he appreciates the position the airline is in right now from a “demand perspective, from a yield standpoint. and from the point of view of capacity “.
The airline says the loss was $ 1.42 per diluted share for the quarter ended September 30 compared to a loss of $ 1.79 per diluted share the previous year.
Revenue for the quarter was $ 5.32 billion, up from $ 2.10 billion in the third quarter of 2021.