Like many of its North American competitors, Air Canada released blockbuster second quarter (Q2) figures and upped its low-end estimation of its full-year earnings to C$3.75bn (US$2.6bn) (adjusted EBITDA).
The increase in full-year expectations is the second this year already and according to Bloomberg, the airline’s share price shot up 4% in an immediate reaction to the publication.
The airline noted its “growing global network” and international competitiveness were significant drivers of its year-on-year growth totalling 36% in Q2.
Air Canada recorded an operating income of C$802m (US$596m) compared to its C$253m (US$188m) loss in Q2 2022.
The Canadian carrier’s operating revenues of C$5.4bn (US$4.1bn) represented a 35% yearly growth. That growth is worth more than C$1bn in cash and was driven by a 42% year-over-year increase in passenger revenues.
Along the same trends seen in other global airlines, Air Canada’s operating costs increased overall compared to Q2 2022 but were mitigated by fuel prices dramatically returning to pre-Russian invasion levels. Air Canada said its fuel bill was reduced by 31%.
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Air Canada president and CEO Michael Rousseau said despite the good passenger numbers, Air Canada didn’t hit all its summer targets: “We safely carried over 11 million customers across our global network in the quarter, a year-over-year increase of about 23%. However, despite having more trained resources than last summer and improved tools, our operations in June and July were not at expected levels.”
But Rousseau noted the outside influences on operations, including continuing global supply chain problems and adverse weather conditions in key areas of operation.
“We are increasing our efforts to protect the customer journey from disruption, regardless of the cause. This includes using any influence we have, in such instances as pilot attrition at our principal regional partner or global supply chain issues, or working to mitigate the effects of situations beyond our control, such as disruptive storm activity in our key hubs and markets. We are confident that our efforts will generate positive outcomes,” Rousseau added.
Rousseau further commented on the imbalance across the business’s sectors, with passenger revenue growth far outstripping cargo volumes, but ended his statement by lauding the company’s healthy cash levels.
“We ended the quarter with more than $9.6bn in cash, cash equivalents and investments. This will enable us to further invest in our business, deleverage our balance sheet and ensure our company maintains the resiliency and adaptability needed for long-term success and to navigate through evolving market conditions,” the CEO said.