Tag Archives: Jazz Air

Jazz Aviation’s 1,380 pilots ratify the new contract

Jazz Aviation LP (Air Canada Express) (Halifax), a wholly owned subsidiary of Chorus Aviation Inc., has announced that its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) have ratified their tentative agreement reached on January 13, 2015. The term of this agreement is 11 years expiring on December 31, 2025.

ALPA represents approximately 1380 pilots employed at Jazz. The term of the pilot agreement is consistent with the 11 year term of Chorus’ proposed amended capacity purchase agreement with Air Canada (that remains subject to the completion of certain terms and conditions), and therefore provides long-term labor stability. The new collective agreement also provides for productivity enhancements, cost control measures and incentives to grow at competitive rates.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Canada Express-Jazz Aviation’s Bombardier DHC-8-102 C-FJMG (msn 255) is pictured parked at the gate at Toronto-Pearson International Airport.

Air Canada Express (Jazz) aircraft slide show:

AG Bottom Ad Bar

Air Canada and Jazz Aviation introduce the Bombardier Q400 to western Canada

Air Canada (Montreal) and Jazz Aviation (Air Canada Express) (Halifax) on February 1 introduced the Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) to western Canada. The type was introduced on Air Canada Express flights AC 8371 from Calgary to Fort McMurray, AC 8430 from Calgary to Regina and AC 8586 from Calgary to Saskatoon.  Concurrent with rolling out new, state-of-the-art Bombardier Q400 Next Generation aircraft in these markets, Air Canada announced it is boosting capacity on key regional routes this spring and summer in response to demand.

“We are delighted to introduce the newest, ultra-quiet regional aircraft for customers in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” said Marcel Forget, Air Canada’s Vice President, Network Planning. “This spring, Air Canada will strategically increase capacity by either scheduling larger aircraft or adding flights to meet strong demand in Western Canada and we will continue to roll out the Q400 aircraft on additional routes in BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories in the coming months. Air Canada Express flights are scheduled to enable convenient, point-to-point, same-day business travel, as well as convenient and easy connections to Air Canada’s extensive domestic, US and international network at Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.”

Increased capacity this spring and summer compared to last year include the following routes:

Route Effective 2012 daily
seat capacity
2013 daily
seat capacity
%  seat
increase
Calgary-Fort McMurray now 375 444 18%
Calgary-Regina now 200 272 36%
Calgary-Grande Prairie March 2013 200 248 24%
Calgary-Victoria March 2013 200 222 11%
Calgary-Yellowknife April 2013 100 124 24%
Calgary-Edmonton March 2013 837 870 4%
Calgary-Portland, OR July 2013 50 100 100%
Edmonton-Yellowknife April 2013 50 74 48%
Edmonton-Regina now 50 100 100%
Edmonton-Saskatoon now 50 100 100%
Edmonton-Fort McMurray March 2013 300 370 23%
Edmonton-Grande Prairie May 2013 250 274 10%
Vancouver-Fort McMurray May 2013 50 100 100%
Vancouver-Fort St. John May 2013 250 298 19%
Vancouver-Prince George May 2013 300 370 23%
Vancouver-Smithers May 2013 100 150 50%
Vancouver-Terrace July 2013 200 250 25%
Vancouver-Penticton May 2013 150 200 33%
Toronto-Fort McMurray May 2013 292 363 24%

Following to the launch of the Q400 aircraft in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Regina and Saskatoon, the aircraft, featuring all-leather seats, spacious overhead bins and comfortable 31-inch legroom, is scheduled to be deployed in the coming months on the following routes:

Calgary-Grande-Prairie March 2013
Calgary-Victoria March 2013
Calgary-Edmonton March 2013
Calgary-Yellowknife April 2013
Edmonton-Fort McMurray March 2013
Edmonton-Grande Prairie May 2013
Edmonton-Yellowknife April 2013
Vancouver-Prince George May 2013
Vancouver-Fort St. John May 2013

The Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) NextGen aircraft with 74 seats replaces 50-seat CRJ100/200ER aircraft, and are operated by Jazz Aviation LP under the Air Canada Express brand.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Jazz Aviation’s Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GGMZ (msn 4399) prepares to land at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada Express-Jazz Aviation: AG Slide Show

Air Canada Express logo-1

Routes flown by Jazz Aviation for Air Canada as an Air Canada Express carrier:

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Please click on the map for the full-size view.

Chorus Aviation reports third quarter net income of C$37.2 million

Chorus Aviation Inc. (Jazz Aviation) (Air Canada Regional) (Halifax) has announced its third quarter 2012 earnings, with net income of $37.2 million , or $0.30 per basic share, and adjusted net income of $27.1 million or $0.22 per basic share. The company issued the following statement:

Operating revenue increased from $411.7 million to $435.6 million , representing an increase of $24.0 million or 5.8%.  Passenger revenue, excluding pass-through costs, increased by $19.0 million or 7.6% primarily as a result of a 1.9% increase in Billable Block Hours, rate increases made pursuant to the Capacity Purchase Agreement (‘CPA’) with Air Canada , a higher US dollar exchange rate, and a $1.1 million increase in incentives earned under the CPA. Pass-through costs increased from $160.8 million to $166.1 million , or $5.3 million or 3.3% which included $1.5 million related to fuel. Other revenue decreased by $0.3 million .

Operating expenses increased from $380.6 million to $399.0 million , an increase of $18.4 million or 4.8%.  Controllable Costs increased by $13.1 million , or 6.0%.  Controllable operating expenses were impacted by the changes in the fleet ownership structure for the Q400 aircraft.  CRJ100 aircraft, previously reported under operating leases, are being replaced by owned Q400 aircraft. Related ownership costs are comprised of depreciation (an operating expense), and interest (a non-operating expense). The Q400 aircraft lease revenue under the CPA is reflected in operating revenue, and is designed to provide compensation to Chorus for both depreciation and interest expense.  As interest expense is shown below the operating margin, operating income increased by a similar amount on a quarter over quarter basis.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $3.3 million , of which $3.1 million is related to the purchase of Q400 aircraft, with the balance due to increased capital expenditures on aircraft rotable parts and other equipment; offset by decreased major maintenance overhauls and certain assets having reached full amortization.

Aircraft maintenance expense increased by $4.0 million , with increased costs of $0.8 million arising as a result of increased Block Hours, the effect of the increase in the US-dollar exchange rate on certain material purchases of $0.3 million , increased other maintenance costs of $1.4 million , and an increase in engine maintenance activity of $1.5 million .

Salaries, wages and benefits increased by $7.4 million as a result of wage and scale increases under new collective agreements, increased Block Hours, increased incentive compensation expense, increased pension expense resulting from a revised actuarial valuation and lower capitalized salaries and wages related to major maintenance overhauls; offset by a 3.7% reduction in the number of full time equivalent employees.

Other expenses decreased by $0.7 million primarily due to decreased professional fees and general overhead expenses; offset by increased crew expenses increased due to increased activity and rates.

Non-operating income increased $19.8 million .  This change was mainly attributable to a foreign exchange gain of $10.7 million (of which $10.0 million was related to an unrealized foreign exchange gain on long-term debt and finance leases) arising as a result of the change in value of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar; offset by increased interest expense related to the Q400 aircraft financing of $1.8 million .

EBITDA1 was $51.8 million compared to $43.0 million in 2011, an increase of $8.8 million or 20.7%, producing an EBITDA margin of 11.9%. Free Cash Flow was $37.8 million , an increase of $8.7 million or 30.0% from $29.1 million .

Operating income of $36.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 , was up $5.6 million or 17.9% over third quarter 2011 from $31.1 million .

Net income for the third quarter of 2012 was $37.2 million or $0.30 per basic share, an increase of $23.3 million or 167.1% from $13.9 million or $0.19 per basic share.

As communicated on October 3 and 4, 2012, the arbitration panel (the ‘Panel’) released its award (the ‘Award’) on the 2009 benchmark exercise between Jazz Aviation LP (‘Jazz’) (a wholly owned subsidiary of Chorus) and Air Canada .

In the Award, two of the three member Panel concluded that the component unit cost driver (‘CUCD’) methodology put forward by Air Canada was the appropriate methodology to use in the 2009 Benchmark to compare Jazz’s Unit Costs to the stage length adjusted median controllable unit costs of the Comparable Operators.  However, the Panel also agreed with Jazz that a number of the additional adjustments proposed by Jazz were also required to be made (the “Adjustments”).The Panel also agreed with Jazz that fleet age impacts the rate at which maintenance costs increase. The Panel directed Air Canada and Jazz to negotiate a further adjustment that would account for the impact of fleet age, failing which the parties will submit new proposals and analysis to the Panel.

There remain disputes between the parties with respect to the interpretation and application of the Award and its impact on the Controllable Mark-Up. Jazz is of the view that, applying the CUCD methodology, and based on the proper application of the Adjustments that the Panel has found are required to be made, the result of the 2009 Benchmark is that Jazz is not required to repay Air Canada any amounts in respect of payments made since January 1, 2010 , and that its Controllable Mark-Up will remain at 12.50% going forward until at least the 2015 Benchmark.

Air Canada , on the other hand, has asserted to Jazz its view that the impact of the Adjustments that the Panel found were required to be made would reduce the Controllable Mark-Up to 11.41%. However, this does not account for any impact that the fleet age adjustment described above would have on the Controllable Mark-Up. Air Canada took the position at the hearing that there should be no such fleet age adjustment. Jazz is of the view that, given its older fleet relative to those of the relevant comparable  operators, any fleet age adjustment would result in a Controllable Mark-Up higher than 11.41%, even if the Panel were to otherwise accept Air Canada’s position concerning the impact of each of the various other Adjustments which the Panel indicated must be made.

The parties have scheduled a further hearing with the Panel to occur in the last week of November 2012 to resolve the outstanding issues in dispute, including the impact of the fleet age adjustment. As a consequence, the impact, if any, to the Controllable Mark-Up on Jazz’s Controllable Costs cannot be stated at this time with reasonable certainty.  Chorus anticipates having all matters settled no later than the first quarter of 2013.

No amounts have been recorded in the accounts of Chorus in 2010, 2011 or 2012 related to this claim as management has determined that it is not probable that the Air Canada claim will be successful, and it is not practicable to determine an estimate of the possible financial effect, if any, with sufficient reliability.

1 Non-GAAP Financial Measures

EBITDA
EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and obsolescence) is a non-GAAP financial measure commonly used throughout all industries to view operating results before interest expense, interest income, depreciation and amortization, gains and losses on property and equipment and other non-operating income and expenses.  Management believes EBITDA assists investors in comparing Chorus’ performance on a consistent basis without regard to depreciation and amortization, which are non-cash in nature and can vary significantly depending on accounting methods and non-operating factors such as historical cost.  EBITDA should not be used as an exclusive measure of cash flow because it does not account for the impact on working capital growth, capital expenditures, debt repayments and other sources and uses of cash, which are disclosed in the statement of cash flows which form part of the financial statements.

FREE CASH FLOW
Pre-conversion distributable cash was a key performance indicator used by management to evaluate the ongoing performance of Jazz Air Income Fund.  Distributable cash is not a measure which is commonly utilized in respect of a public corporation. Management believes, however, that it is a term with which its shareholders are familiar and has provided Free Cash Flow as a proxy for previously reported distributable income.  Free Cash Flow is calculated in the same manner as distributable cash. Free Cash Flow is defined as EBITDA less non-operating expenses, Maintenance Capital Expenditures to sustain the operation, and adjusted for any unrealized foreign exchange gain or loss on long-term debt and finance leases and any unusual non-operating one-time items.  Other capital expenditures incurred to facilitate growth of the business are excluded from this calculation.

ADJUSTED NET INCOME
Adjusted net income and adjusted earnings per share are calculated by adjusting net income by the amount of any unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses on long-term debt and finance leases.  During the third quarter of 2012, Chorus recorded a $10.0 million gain in unrealized foreign exchange on long-term debt and finance leases.  This adjustment more clearly reflects earnings from an operating perspective.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton. Jazz Aviation’s (Air Canada Express) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GGND (msn 4394) prepares to land at Air Canada’s Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada Express-Jazz Aviation: 

Air Canada to deploy the Bombardier Q400 on the Toronto – New York JFK route and in Western Canada

Air Canada (Montreal) is adding the Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) on the Toronto (Pearson-New York (JFK) route starting on November 1. In addition, the carrier has announced that it is boosting capacity on regional routes across Western Canada this fall and winter to meet demand.  The airline will also be gradually introducing Bombardier Q400 aircraft operated by Jazz Aviation (Halifax) under the Air Canada Express brand on key markets from Calgary and Edmonton beginning next year.

Starting next February, Air Canada will be scheduling new Q400 aircraft on regional routes across Western Canada to replace smaller Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft.  Air Canada Express flights are scheduled to enable convenient, point-to-point same day business travel, as well as convenient and easy connections to Air Canada’s extensive domestic, US and international network at Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.  Increased services this fall and winter compared to last year include:

 

Calgary-Fort McMurray 7 daily (from 6 daily) 350 daily seats (from 300)
Calgary-Grande Prairie 5 daily (from 4 daily) 250 daily seats (from 200)
Calgary-Yellowknife 2 daily (from 1 daily) 100 daily seats (from 50)
Edmonton-Fort McMurray 7 daily (from 6 daily) 350 daily seats (from 300)
Edmonton-Regina 2 daily (from 1 daily) 100 daily seats (from 50)
Edmonton-Saskatoon 2 daily (from 1 daily) 100 daily seats (from 50)
Vancouver-Fort St. John 5 daily (from 4 daily) 250 daily seats (from 200)
Vancouver-Nanaimo 7 daily (from 6 daily) 350 daily seats (from 300)

As mentioned, in February, 2013, Air Canada will begin gradually deploying 74-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft on routes within Western Canada, replacing 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft.  The Q400s will initially be scheduled on the following routes:

 

Calgary-Fort McMurray February, 2013
Calgary-Regina February, 2013
Calgary-Saskatoon February, 2013
Calgary-Yellowknife April, 2013
Calgary-Grande Prairie March, 2013
Calgary-Victoria March, 2013
Calgary-Edmonton March, 2013
Edmonton-Fort McMurray March, 2013
Edmonton-Yellowknife April, 2013
Edmonton-Winnipeg May, 2013

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GGOY (msn 4365) of Jazz Aviation is pictured at the Toronto (YYZ) hub.

Air Canada Express-Jazz Aviation: 

Chorus Aviation posts a second quarter net profit of $22.9 million

Chorus Aviation Inc. (Jazz Aviation) (Air Canada Express) (Halifax) has announced its second quarter 2012 earnings, with net income of (all currencies in Canadian dollars) $22.9 million or $0.18 per share, and adjusted net income1 of $27.4 million or $0.22 per share.

Q2 2012 Highlights:

  • Operating revenue of $426.3 million.
  • Free Cash Flow1 of $38.7 million, or $0.31 per share.
  • Operating income of $36.6 million.
  • Net income of $22.9 million, or $0.18 per share.
  • Adjusted net income1 of $27.4 million, or $0.22 per share.

The full report:

Financial Performance -Second Quarter 2012 Compared to Second Quarter 2011

Operating revenue increased from $402.0 million to $426.3 million, representing an increase of $24.2 million or 6.0%.  Passenger revenue, excluding pass-through costs, increased by $25.7 million or 10.8% primarily as a result of $9.0 million related to the early termination of the Thomas Cook Flight Services Agreement, rate increases made pursuant to the CPA, an adjustment of $1.8 million related to the new rates which were retroactive to January 1, 2012,  a higher US dollar exchange rate, and a $1.4 million increase in incentives earned under the CPA with Air Canada; offset by a $1.9 million or 1.2% decrease in pass-through costs from $161.1 million to $159.2 million, which included $5.3 million related to fuel. Other revenue increased by $0.3 million.

Operating expenses increased from $378.1 million to $389.7 million, an increase of $11.6 million or 3.1%.  Controllable Costs increased by $13.5 million, or 6.2%; offset by a decrease in pass-through costs of $1.9 million.  Controllable operating expenses were impacted by the changes in the fleet ownership structure for the Q400 aircraft.  CRJ100 aircraft, previously under operating leases, are being replaced by owned Q400 aircraft, whose ownership costs are comprised of depreciation under operating expenses, and interest under non-operating expenses. The Q400 aircraft lease revenue under the CPA is captured under operating revenue and is designed to provide compensation to Chorus for both depreciation and interest expense.  As interest expense is shown below the operating margin, operating income increased by a similar amount on a quarter over quarter basis.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased by $4.0 million, of which $3.0 million is related to the purchase of Q400 aircraft, with the balance due to the increased major maintenance overhauls and increased capital expenditures on aircraft rotable parts and other equipment; offset by certain assets reaching full amortization.

Aircraft maintenance expense increased by $2.3 million as a result of increased Block Hours of $0.4 million, the effect of the increase in the US-dollar exchange rate on certain material purchases of $1.3 million, and increased other maintenance costs of $2.6 million; offset by a decrease in engine maintenance activity due to the return of CRJ aircraft of $2.0 million.

Salaries, wages and benefits increased by $2.8 million as a result of wage and scale increases under new collective agreements, increased Block Hours, and increased pension expense resulting from a revised actuarial valuation; offset by a reduction in the number of full time equivalent employees.

Other expenses increased by $3.4 million primarily due to increased general overhead expenses (crew expenses increased due to increased activity, rates and training expenses) and professional fees.

Non-operating expenses increased $7.8 million.  This change was mainly attributable to a foreign exchange loss of $4.8 million (of which $4.5 million was related to an unrealized foreign exchange loss on long-term debt and finance leases) arising as a result of the change in value of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar, and increased interest expense related to the Q400 aircraft financing of $2.1 million.

EBITDA1 was $50.4 million compared to $33.9 million in 2011, an increase of $16.5 million or 48.9%.  Free Cash Flow was $38.7 million, an increase of $15.4 million or 66.5% from $23.3 million.

Operating income of $36.6 million for the three months ended June 30, 2012, was up $12.6 million or 52.6% over second quarter 2011 from $24.0 million.

Net income for the second quarter of 2012 was $22.9 million or $0.18 per share, an increase of $6.0 million or 35.3% from $16.9 million or $0.14 per share.

CPA rate setting negotiations

On August 7, 2012, Jazz and Air Canada finalized an agreement on the establishment of new rates for controllable costs that are payable by Air Canada under the CPA in respect of the years 2012 to 2014 inclusive.  This rate review and adjustment is required under the terms of the CPA. The new rates are retroactive to January 1, 2012, and the parties have reconciled the amounts previously paid to the amount owing based on the new rates. The reconciliation is conducted so that the parties will be in the same position they would have been had the new rates been in effect as of January 1, 2012.

Update on investment in South American regional carrier Pluna.

On April 30, 2010, Chorus purchased a 33% non-voting interest in Latin American Regional Aviation Holding Corporation (LARAH).  LARAH held an indirect 75% equity interest in Pluna Líneas Aéreas Uruguayas S.A. The remaining 25% equity interest in Pluna was held, indirectly, by the Government of Uruguay.

In the second quarter of 2012, it was announced that Pluna was in financial difficulty, and that the Uruguayan government had taken control of the airline, allowing it to continue operating.  All of the shares in Pluna held indirectly by LARAH, including the portion indirectly owned by Chorus, were placed in trust with the Montevideo Stock Exchange in return for certain conditions and indemnities from the Uruguayan government.  As a result, Chorus recorded a write-down of $16.4 million to the fair value of the investment through other comprehensive loss, as there is no indication that the LARAH shares hold any current value, and there can be no assurances that a successful recapitalization of Pluna will result in Chorus holding an ownership stake in the resulting entity.

Subsequent to June 30, 2012, Pluna announced that it had ceased operations indefinitely.  The situation with Pluna has no effect on Jazz operations or current cash flows.

1 Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) C-GGOI (msn 4381) arrives at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada Express-Jazz: 

Jazz Aviation LP announces tentative agreement with its Maintenance and Engineering’s union

Jazz Aviation LP (Halifax) has announced it has reached a tentative labor contract with its Maintenance and Engineering employees represented by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 2002.

The agreement is subject to a ratification vote by union members and covers approximately 885 CAW-represented Maintenance and Engineering employees at Jazz.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography.

Chorus Aviation Inc. exercises options to acquire additional Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft

Chorus Aviation Inc. (Halifax) today announced it has exercised six of 15 options it holds to acquire additional Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) NextGen aircraft to be operated by its subsidiary, Jazz Aviation LP (Halifax) under the Air Canada Express brand.

Jazz will operate 16 Q400s this month under the Air Canada Express brand, which includes one Q400 on short term lease for the peak summer season only.  The Q400 aircraft accommodate 74 passengers, and are configured in a single cabin.  The six optioned Q400s are contracted to be delivered at a rate of two per month in February, March and April, 2013, and will be placed into operation the subsequent month.  A total of nine 50-seat CRJ100 aircraft will be removed from the Jazz fleet between December, 2012 and May, 2013. As a result, the covered fleet under the Capacity Purchase Agreement with Air Canada will be reduced from 125 to 122 aircraft, with the overall seating capacity, operated under the CPA with Air Canada, being held relatively constant.

The new aircraft will be leased via a Chorus leasing company to Jazz.  The purchase is supported by a third party lender under terms similar to the original order of 15 Q400 aircraft. The transaction is anticipated to be accretive to Chorus’ consolidated operating results. As required under the purchase agreement, Chorus has made pre-delivery payments of approximately $13 million USD which have been funded from current cash balances and will not impact Chorus’ current dividend policy.

In support of the continued fleet renewal program at Jazz, Air Canada and Jazz have agreed to amend their CPA to reflect the following:

  • Covered Aircraft reduced from 125 to 122 aircraft, resulting in a net reduction of six seats in the entire Jazz CPA fleet effective May, 2013 once all Q400 aircraft have been introduced into service.
  • In February 2013 when the number of Covered Aircraft reaches 122 aircraft, the annual minimum guaranteed Block Hours of 339,000 will be reduced to approximately 331,000 Block Hours to reflect the new number of Covered Aircraft.
  • The agreement between the parties does not change the mark-up on controllable costs structure and mark-up rates but establishes new metrics resulting from the new annual minimum guaranteed Block Hours as follows:
    • The Compensating Mark-up will now be applied based on the range between the new annual minimum Targeted Block Hours of approximately 367,000 and the revised annual minimum guaranteed Block Hours of approximately 331,000. The difference between the annual minimum guaranteed Block Hours and the annual minimum Targeted Block Hours remains at 36,000 Block Hours. This agreement also resolves one of the issues raised in the 2009 Benchmark Arbitration with reference to how the Compensating Mark-up formula will be applied.
    • Mark-up on variable controllable costs for annual Block Hours over 375,000 will remain at 5.0%.

The exercise of the six options and the amendments to the CPA do not result in any change to Chorus’ current annual Block Hour guidance for the year 2012 of between 385,000 and 400,000 hours.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography.

Air Canada Express-Jazz: