Air Canada's CEO is reporting an “impressive” first quarter as the airline achieved new sales records and passenger revenues that more than doubled from last year.
Sharing the company’s Q1 financials on Friday (May 12), Michael Rousseau, Air Canada’s president and CEO, said the company’s performance “reflects the strength of our brand, the very strong demand environment across all markets and the effective execution of our strategic plan.”
When compared to the same quarter in 2022, passenger revenues hit a first quarter record of close to $4.1 billion, Rousseau shared.
Air Canada also posted a record first-quarter operating revenues of $4.887 billion, which is 90 per cent higher than Q1 in 2022 and about 10 per cent higher than first quarter 2019.
The airline reported an operating loss of $17 million, which is major improvement from an operating loss of $550 million in the first quarter of 2022.
Air Canada’s adjusted net loss resulted in $188 million, which is an improvement of the $559 million loss it posted in 2022.
Adjusted EBITDA surged by $554 million to $411 million, and Air Canada’s adjusted CASM fell nearly seven per cent from a year ago, he said.
“We expect demand to persist”
"Our first quarter financial results exceeded both internal and external expectations and we expect demand to persist, supported by strong advance bookings for the remainder of the year,” the CEO said.
For this reason, and due to lower-than-expected fuel costs, Air Canada raised its 2023 earnings outlook last week by $1 billion.
The carrier says its adjusted 2023 earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) are expected to reach between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, up from original forecasts of between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, which were released on Feb. 17.
Rousseau noted that all areas of Air Canada contributed “meaningfully” during the quarter.
Air Canada Cargo, for one, is expanding its network and fleet, Aeroplan is gaining more members and gross billings have increased 50 per cent when compared to the first quarter of 2022, and Air Canada Vacations produced “remarkable results.”
System yields improved approximately nine per cent compared to the first quarter of 2022 and the airline achieved a strong free cash flow of nearly $1 billion.
“This will allow us to continue investing in our future, including by further deleveraging our balance sheet," said Rousseau.
For the second quarter of 2023, Air Canada plans to increase its ASM capacity by about 22 per cent from the same quarter in 2022.