Transat A.T. Inc. reports its results for third quarter of 2021

Air Transat Airbus A321-271NX WL C-GOIF (msn 8876) LGW (Richard Vandervord). Image: 954944.

Transat A.T. Inc., one of the largest integrated tourism companies in the world and Canada’s holiday travel leader, announces its results for the third quarter ended July 31, 2021.

“We’re very pleased we were able to resume operations as scheduled on July 30 and move into the restart phase where our activities can gradually expand, and particularly as we look forward to a winter season that promises to be much busier than the last one. While we must continue to exercise caution given the evolving health situation, and although a full return to normal is still some time away, we’re very keen to get the crisis behind us,” stated Annick Guérard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat.

“Beyond resuming our operating activities, gradually recalling our employees and delivering training, we’ll be using this period to implement our strategic plan. We’ve announced two new destinations in the United States for the winter, we’re working on optimizing our capital structure, and we’re engaging in a number of discussions towards entering into airline partnership agreements. Our ambitions are high, but we’re on the right track,” Mrs. Guérard added.

The global air transportation and tourism industry has faced a collapse in traffic and demand. Travel restrictions, uncertainty about when borders will reopen fully, both in Canada and at certain destinations the Corporation flies to, the imposition of quarantine measures and vaccination and testing requirements both in Canada and other countries, as well as concerns related to the pandemic and its economic impacts are creating significant demand uncertainty, at least for fiscal 2021. For the first half of winter 2021, the Corporation rolled out a reduced winter program. On January 29, 2021, following the Canadian government’s request to not travel to Mexico and the Caribbean, and the introduction of new quarantine measures and COVID-19 testing requirements, the Corporation announced the complete suspension of all its regular flights and the repatriation of its clients to Canada.

Starting July 30, 2021, the Corporation partially resumed its operations and gradually rolled out a reduced summer program. The Corporation cannot predict all the impacts of COVID-19 on its operations and results, or precisely when the situation will improve. The Corporation has implemented a series of operational, commercial and financial measures, including new financing and cost reduction measures, aimed at preserving its cash. The Corporation is monitoring the situation daily to adjust these measures as it evolves. However, until the Corporation is able to resume operations at a sufficient level, the COVID-19 pandemic will have significant negative impacts on its revenues, cash flows from operations and operating results. While progress on vaccination and the lifting of certain restrictions have made it possible to resume operations at a certain level during 2021, the Corporation does not expect such level to reach the pre-pandemic level before 2023.

Preserving cash is a priority for the Corporation; with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporation has taken the actions discussed in the Overview section of the MD&A included in our 2020 Annual Report. Other opportunities are being evaluated to achieve this objective and the following additional actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were taken during the nine-month period ended July 31, 2021:

  • The Corporation completed its efforts to obtain long-term financing. As described in the Financing section of the MD&A, the available financing therefore represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn as at July 31, 2021. Of the drawn down amount, a total of $265.1 million was used to repay travelers who were scheduled to leave after February 1, 2020, for which a travel credit had been issued due to COVID-19 and who had requested to be reimbursed.
  • During the quarter ended January 31, 2021, two Airbus A330s and one Boeing 737-800 were returned to lessors early. These are in addition to the three Boeing 737-800s and one Airbus A330 that were returned in advance to their lessors during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020.
  • The Corporation continuously adjusts its flight program as the situation evolves. Since the resumption of its airline operations on July 30, 2021, Transat offers once again a reduced program of international flights departing from Montréal and Toronto that it intends to enhance gradually.
  • The Corporation is negotiating with its suppliers, including aircraft lessors to benefit from cost reductions and changes in payment terms, and is continuing to implement measures to reduce expenses and investments.
  • The Corporation is continuing to make use of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy [“CEWS”] for its Canadian workforce, which enables it to finance part of the salaries of its staff still at work and, until August 28, 2021, to offer employees on temporary layoff to receive a portion of their salary equivalent to the amount of the grant received, with no work required.
  • As at July 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents totaled $429.4 million.

Third-quarter highlights

Since mid-March of 2020, restrictions on international travel and government-imposed quarantine measures have made travel sales very difficult. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporation suspended its airline operations on January 29, 2021 for the second time since March 2020, until their partial resumption on July 30, 2021. These factors caused the fall in revenues. The Corporation recognized revenues of $12.5 million during the quarter, an increase of $3.0 million or 31.4% compared with 2020. In 2021, revenues were mainly driven by the activities of the Corporation’s incoming tour operator in sun destinations.

Operations generated an operating loss of $98.4 million compared with $132.0 million in 2020, an improvement of $33.6 million. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss1 of $50.9 million compared with $79.9 million in 2020, an improvement of $29.0 million. The decreases in operating loss and adjusted operating loss1 were due to the unfavorable settlement of fuel derivative contracts in the third quarter of 2020.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $138.1 million or $3.66 per share (diluted) compared with $45.1 million or $1.20 per share (diluted) for the corresponding quarter of last year. In 2020, the net loss attributable to shareholders was mitigated by a gain in the fair value of fuel-related derivatives and other derivatives of $67.7 million, related to the significant recovery of fuel prices during the quarter. The deterioration of the net loss attributable to shareholders was also accentuated by the $15.9 million foreign exchange loss recorded in the third quarter of 2021, mainly due to the unfavorable exchange effect on lease liabilities related to aircraft, following the weakening of the dollar against the U.S. dollar. During the third quarter of 2020, the Corporation recognized a $28.5 million foreign exchange gain, resulting mainly from the favorable exchange effect on lease liabilities related to aircraft. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss1 of $115.6 million or $3.06 per share for the third quarter of 2021, compared with $139.8 million or $3.70 per share in 2020.

Nine-month period highlights

As a result of the above-mentioned factors, the Corporation recorded a decrease in its results for the nine-month period ended July 31. Moreover, for the first half of winter 2021, demand was very weak and the Corporation’s capacity represented a fraction of the 2020 level. For the nine-month period as a whole, the Corporation recognized revenues of $62.0 million, a decrease of $1.2 billion or 95.1% compared with 2020, and operations generated an operating loss of $282.9 million, compared with $186.6 million in 2020, a deterioration of $96.3 million. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss1 of $155.5 million compared with $31.4 million in 2020, a deterioration of $124.1 million.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $268.2 million or $7.11 per share (diluted) compared with $258.5 million or $6.85 per share (diluted) for the corresponding nine-month period of last year. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss1 of $328.0 million or $8.69 per share for the nine-month period ended July 31, 2021, compared with $198.9 million or $5.27 per share in 2020.

Financial position

As at July 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents amounted to $429.4 million, compared with $576.4 million on the same date in 2020. This decrease was mainly attributable to a significant decrease in business and to refunds of travel credits, partially offset by drawdowns on the credit facilities.

In total, the available financing represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn down as at July 31, 2021. Of the drawn down amount, a total of $265.1 million was used to repay travelers who were scheduled to leave after February 1, 2020, for which a travel credit had been issued due to COVID-19 and who had requested to be reimbursed.

Deposits from customers for future travel amounted to $262.8 million, compared with $638.1 million as at July 31, 2020, a decrease of $375.3 million. This change was due to refunds of travel credits made during the third quarter of 2021.

The working capital ratio was 1.27, compared with 0.93 as at July 31, 2020. The improvement in working capital resulted from the travel credits refunded during the period and financed partly by the drawdowns on the unsecured credit facility to refund travelers and drawdowns on credit facilities.

Customer deposits as at July 31, 2021 included these travel credits issued for cancelled trips related to COVID-19 amounting to $159.3 million, compared with $504.6 million as at April 30, 2021. On April 29, 2021, the Corporation entered into an agreement with the Government of Canada that also allows it to borrow an amount of $310.0 million to issue refunds to certain travellers. Following this agreement, at the end of August 2021, the Corporation had received requests for about 80% of the amount of credits issued and made refunds for more than 90% of amounts claimed. Customers had until August 26, 2021 to submit their refund requests.

Off-balance-sheet agreements, excluding contracts with service providers, stood at $544.5 million as at July 31, 2021. This amount mainly consists in commitments to take delivery of the seven A321neoLRs undelivered as at that date.

Outlook

The current situation shows encouraging signs such as the level of bookings observed and the increase in the vaccination rate. However, it remains impossible for the moment to predict the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future bookings, the partial resumption of flight operations and financial results.

The Corporation has implemented a series of operational, commercial and financial measures, including cost reduction, aimed at preserving its cash. The Corporation continues to monitor the situation daily to adjust these measures as it evolves. Please see the Risks and Uncertainties section of the Corporation’s MD&A for the year ended October 31, 2020 for a more detailed discussion of the main risks and uncertainties facing the Corporation.

Consequently, for now the Corporation is not providing an outlook for summer 2021 or winter 2022.

Top Copyright Photo: Air Transat Airbus A321-271NX WL C-GOIF (msn 8876) LGW (Richard Vandervord). Image: 954944.

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