Category Archives: Air Canada

Air Canada discontinues service on 30 domestic regional routes and closes eight stations in Canada

Air Canada said today that it is indefinitely suspending service on 30 domestic regional routes and closing eight stations at regional airports in Canada. 

These structural changes to Air Canada’s domestic regional network are being made as a result of continuing weak demand for both business and leisure travel due to COVID-19 and provincial and federal government-imposed travel restrictions and border closures, which are diminishing prospects for a near-to-mid-term recovery.

As the company has previously reported, Air Canada expects the industry’s recovery will take a minimum of three years. As a consequence, other changes to its network and schedule, as well as further service suspensions, will be considered over the coming weeks as the airline takes steps to decisively reduce its overall cost structure and cash burn rate.

A full list of route suspensions and station closures is below.

As a result of COVID-19, Air Canada reported a net loss of $1.05 billion in the first quarter of 2020, including a net cash-burn in March of $688 million. The carrier has undertaken a range of structural changes including significant cost savings and liquidity measures, of which today’s announced service suspensions form part. Other measures include:

  • A workforce reduction of approximately 20,000 employees, representing more than 50 per cent of its staff, achieved through layoffs, severances, early retirements and special leaves;
  • A company-wide Cost Reduction and Capital Deferral Program, that has to date identified around $1.1 billion in savings;
  • A reduction of its system-wide capacity by approximately 85 per cent in the second quarter compared to last year’s second quarter and an expected third quarter capacity reduction of at least 75% from the third quarter of 2019;
  • The permanent removal of 79 aircraft from its mainline and Rouge fleets;
  • And raising approximatively $5.5 billion in liquidity since March 13, 2020, through a series of debt, aircraft and equity financings.

Further initiatives are being considered.

Route Suspensions

The following routes will be suspended indefinitely as per applicable regulatory notice requirements. Affected customers will be contacted by Air Canada and offered options, including alternative routings where available.

Maritimes/Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • Deer Lake-Goose Bay;
  • Deer LakeSt. John’s;
  • FrederictonHalifax;
  • FrederictonOttawa;
  • MonctonHalifax;
  • Saint JohnHalifax;
  • CharlottetownHalifax;
  • MonctonOttawa;
  • Gander-Goose Bay;
  • GanderSt. John’s;
  • BathurstMontreal;
  • Wabush-Goose Bay;
  • WabushSept-Iles;
  • Goose Bay-St. John’s.

Quebec/Ontario:

  • Baie ComeauMontreal;
  • Baie Comeau-Mont Joli;
  • Gaspé-Iles de la Madeleine;
  • Gaspé-Quebec City;
  • Sept-Iles-Quebec City;
  • Val d’OrMontreal;
  • Mont JoliMontreal;
  • Rouyn-NorandaVal d’Or;
  • KingstonToronto;
  • LondonOttawa;
  • North BayToronto
  • WindsorMontreal

Western Canada:

  • ReginaWinnipeg;
  • ReginaSaskatoon;
  • ReginaOttawa;
  • SaskatoonOttawa.

Station Closures

The following are the Regional Airports where Air Canada is closing its stations:

  • Bathurst (New Brunswick)
  • Wabush (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Gaspé (Quebec)
  • Baie Comeau (Quebec)
  • Mont Joli (Quebec)
  • Val d’Or (Quebec)
  • Kingston (Ontario)
  • North Bay (Ontario)

Air Canada further refines industry-leading bio-safety measures, Re-introduces select services onboard flights

Air Canada has made this announcement:

Air Canada today announced it is advancing its industry-leading bio-safety measures by offering flexible rebooking options to Economy Class customers on flights that are close to capacity, introducing additional touchless processes at airports, and enhancing inflight service and amenities.

“As we rebuild our schedule, we are continually increasing the range of products and services available to safely and efficiently enhance our customers’ travel experience. As of July 1, we will be transparent about flights booked close to capacity in Economy Class and will provide rebooking options for customers booked on such flights.  In addition, we are introducing industry-leading, streamlined, touchless airport processes such as TouchFree Bag Check and virtual queuing, and will be resuming meals designed by our Canadian chef culinary panel. We continue to assess new bio-safety initiatives to further build on the multi-layered, bio-safety approach our best-in-class Air Canada CleanCare+ Program features to give customers confidence in a safe, secure, and enhanced travel experience with Air Canada,” said Andrew Yiu, Vice-President – Product at Air Canada.

Options for customers when Economy Class is booked close to capacity

Starting July 1, Air Canada will replace its policy of guaranteeing adjacent seats in Economy Class are empty with a new transparent process offering flexible rebooking options for customers. On flights where Economy Class is booked close to capacity, notification emails will be sent to Economy Class customers in advance of check-in and announcements will be made at the departure gate. Customers will have the option to change to another flight operating within three days or to the next available flight without additional fees.

Airports: Touchless services

Air Canada has implemented TouchFree Bag Check, an industry-leading process for all domestic flights from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary airports, and is now expanding this process to other select Canadian airports, as well as for customers departing on international flights. Watch a demonstration here.

Later in July, virtual queuing will also be introduced at primary Canadian airports to more efficiently manage wait times at select counters. Customers requiring service from an airport agent can simply scan their boarding card to enter a virtual queue and they will be notified via their smartphone to proceed to the counter for assistance.

Maple Leaf Lounges are expected to begin re-opening later this summer.

Air Canada is continuing to evaluate and assess additional touchless and new bio-safety initiatives in airports to further advance efficient, safe and secure travel.

On-board: Meals developed by Canadian panel of culinary talent to resume

Beginning late July, Air Canada will resume meal service planned by its panel of celebrated Canadian chefs in Air Canada Signature Class, and for the first time, will introduce chef-designed meals in Business Class – North America. Customers travelling on international flights in Economy Class will enjoy an enhanced meal service.

Limited inflight food options in Economy Class onboard North American flights greater than two hours will be re-introduced on a pre-order basis.

Customers will also be offered an expanded selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks adapted by cabin and route.

In addition to Air Canada CleanCare+ customer care kits containing hand sanitizer, a mask, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, water bottle, headphones and a snack, additional antibacterial wipes will be available as part of each meal service and in lavatories.  Pillows and blankets will be offered again on all international flights and presented to customers wrapped and sealed.

Air Canada shows off its first refurbished Airbus A330 cabin

Air Canada made this announcement on social media:

We’re celebrating new firsts! Like AC311 from Montreal to Vancouver, the first flight operated with our newly retrofitted Airbus A330 now featuring our newly reconfigured cabin design.

Air Canada completes financing transactions raising additional $1.23 billion

Air Canada made this announcement:

Air Canada has announced that it recently closed two additional financing transactions for net proceeds of $1.23 billion. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, Air Canada has raised $5.5 billion of liquidity. 

On June 22, 2020, Air Canada completed a private offering of $840 million aggregate principal amount of 9.00% Second Lien Secured Notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”), which were sold at 98% of par. The 2024 Notes are secured obligations of Air Canada, secured on a second lien basis by certain real estate interests, ground service equipment, certain airport slots and gate leaseholds, and certain routes and the airport slots and gate leaseholds utilized in connection with those routes.

Earlier in June, Air Canada completed a private offering of one tranche of Class C EETCs with a combined aggregate face amount of approximately US$315 million, which were sold at 95.002% of par. The Class C tranche ranks junior to the previously issued Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs, and is secured by liens on the 27 aircraft financed under the Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs. The Class C EETCs have an interest rate of 10.500% per annum, and a final expected distribution date of July 15, 2026.

“The fact Air Canada was able to add $1.23 billion to its liquidity with these last two transactions without utilizing any of its previously disclosed unencumbered assets leaves the airline in an excellent position to access additional funds should the need arise. Complementing these efforts have been ongoing initiatives to reduce cash burn through such measures as workforce reductions, a $1.1 billion Cost Transformation Program and capacity and network rationalization,” said Pierre Houle, Managing Director and Treasurer of Air Canada.

In addition to these more recent financings, Air Canada also concluded the following financing transactions in 2020:

  • In March 2020, Air Canada drew down its US$600 million and $200 million revolving credit facilities for aggregate proceeds of $1.03 billion.
  • In April 2020, Air Canada concluded a 364-day term loan in the amount of US$600 million, secured by aircraft and spare engines, for proceeds of $829 million.
  • In late April 2020, Air Canada concluded a bridge financing of $788 million for 18 Airbus A220 aircraft which Air Canada expects to replace with longer-term secured financing arrangements later in 2020.
  • In June 2020, Air Canada concluded an underwritten marketed public offering of 35,420,000 Class A Variable Voting Shares and/or Class B Voting Shares of the Company at a price to the public of $16.25 per share, for aggregate proceeds of $575.6 million, and a concurrent marketed private placement of convertible senior unsecured notes due 2025 for aggregate proceeds of US$747.5 million($1.01 billion).

“We entered 2020 on the doorstep of investment grade with a very strong balance sheet, low net leverage and significant liquidity, before the COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed quarantines and border restrictions destroyed demand and depleted cash. Air Canada’s strong relative position has allowed us to navigate through this crisis and we have full confidence that we will be successful in maintaining liquidity at levels more than sufficient to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities ahead. With these latest transactions Air Canada has now raised approximately $5.5 billion in 2020 and expects to end the second quarter of 2020 with at least $9 billion in liquidity,” concluded Mr. Houle.

Air Canada is utilizing the net proceeds from these transactions to supplement its working capital and for other general corporate purposes. The net proceeds from the financings will serve to increase Air Canada’s cash position, thereby allowing for additional flexibility both from an operational standpoint and in the implementation of its planned mitigation and recovery measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Air Canada’s unencumbered asset pool (excluding the value of Aeroplan and Air Canada Vacations) amounts to approximately $2.5 billion at current exchange rates. Air Canada will continue to explore financing arrangements should additional liquidity be required or to refinance existing debt to push out maturities.

Air Canada aircraft photo gallery:

Air Canada operates the last Boeing 767 revenue flight

After 38 years, Air Canada has retired its Boeing 767 fleet.

Air Canada introduced the type in 1982. Air Canada operated the 767-200 and 767-300 variations.

Mainline Air Canada Boeing 767-300 C-FTCA, fleet number 638, flew the last AC 767 revenue flight from Montreal (YUL) to Toronto (YYZ) as flight AC439 on June 2, 2020. This flight retires the type with the mainline airline.

Operated the last AC 767 revenue flight on June 2, 2020

Above Copyright Photo: Air Canada Boeing 767-375 ER C-FTCA (msn 24307) LHR (SPA). Image: 950299.

Air Canada recognized the historic event on June 3, 2020:

Air Canada’s Rapidair flight AC439 from Montreal to Toronto on June 2, 2020 marks the end of an era as the airline retires the last aircraft from its mainline Boeing 767 fleet.

The 767s have been a workhorse for Air Canada since the first one was delivered in October 1982 (a 767-233, FIN number 601, registered as C-GAUB). That aircraft began transcontinental service on February 14, 1983. After more than 20 years in the skies, the aircraft was retired in 2005.


Between 1982 and 1996, Air Canada would take possession of 25 more 767s, with the first extended range variants for overwater operations arriving in 1984. When Air Canada merged with Canadian Airlines in 2001, another 23 of these widebodies would join the fleet.

Air Canada launched its leisure brand Rouge on July 1, 2013 with a total of four aircraft, of which two were 767s flying to Edinburgh, Venice, and Athens. Air Canada Rouge eventually expanded to include 25 of the long-range 767-300ERs that served mainly European and sun destinations. In May 2020, Air Canada announced that in addition to the planned retirement of the remaining five 767s in its mainline fleet, the 767s from Rouge would also be retired from service.

Air Canada’s 767s made history when the first ever air-to-ground telephone service by a Canadian airline was offered on February 9, 1986, during AC915 between Miami to Toronto. Also in February 1986, Executive Class was introduced on the 767s.

Fun Facts:

  • Air Canada Boeing 767 Fin 682 (C-FCAE) registered over 138,000 flying hours before it was retired on August 1, 2019, making it the world leader in terms of flying hours for the fleet type.  The aircraft was sold late last year to another airline which is currently converting it for cargo operations.
  • The 767 was initially designed to be operated with a three-pilot crew. Although Air Canada’s first few 767s had an extra-large flight deck, they were configured to be operated by two pilots.
  • The 767 was the first aircraft to receive 120-minute ETOPS (extended twin-engine operations) approval in 1985, meaning it could operate two hours away from the nearest airport, making oceanic crossings more efficient. This was increased to 180 minutes in 1988.
  • Air Canada flew 23 Boeing 767-200 and -200ER (extended range version) aircraft with the variants being retired in 2008. Most of these aircraft were parked in the desert in Mojave, California and some in Roswell, New Mexico.
  • Some 767s were retrofitted with winglets for fuel efficiency. The winglets are 11 feet tall! Winglets reduce drag and increase lift at the end of the wings and reduce fuel consumption by helping jets more efficiently slice through the air.
  • The mainline Boeing 767 has a seating capacity of 24 in Air Canada Signature Class and 187 in Economy. It has a range of 10,549 kilometres at a cruising altitude of up to 41,000 feet and a cruising speed of 853 kilometres per hour. Cargo capacity in the belly is a maximum of 14,800 kilograms.
  • The longest scheduled nonstop flight by an Air Canada 767 was Toronto to Tokyo, which lasted 13:45 and covered 10,324 kilometres.
  • The Boeing 767 served a number of special missions during its time at Air Canada, including for the annual Dreams Take Flight special charity flights from eight cities across Canada giving special children a trip of a lifetime to a world-renowned theme park in California or Florida.

All 17 Air Canada rouge Boeing 767-300s remain in storage due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) downturn in traffic. Depending on the proposed Air Transit deal, the economy and the return of passenger demand due to COVID -19, some rouge 767s could return to service.

Top Copyright Photo: TMK Photography.

Air Canada aircraft slide show (Historic):

Air Canada expands its cargo-only flight schedule

Air Canada’s freight division, Air Canada Cargo has announced an exciting new expansion of its cargo-only network with the addition of five new destinations in Europe and South America beginning June 1.

  • Freight division Air Canada Cargo to operate to five new destinations in Europe and South America
  • Four converted Boeing 777-300ERs and three Airbus A330-300s enabling cargo in passenger cabins, plus belly-only all-cargo flights and cargo space on Air Canada’s scheduled flights support Air Canada Cargo’s operations

“Beginning June 1, five new destinations* will be added to an already robust cargo-only network: Bogota, Lima, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Madrid. These nonstop flights originating from Montreal to Europe and South America will enhance our global connectivity, allowing us to continue supporting the global supply chain and our freight forwarding customers,” said Tim Strauss, Vice President – Cargo at Air Canada.

In addition to the hundreds of tonnes of medical equipment, PPE, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods that Air Canada Cargo transports globally directly to Canada, it also provides vital global supply links to keep world economies moving by connecting goods from international destinations via Canada such as from South America to Asia via Canada or Europe to the US via Canada.  Air Canada Cargo has recently transported thousands of queen honeybees across Canada to aid in crop pollination, fresh flowers from Amsterdamand Israel to Canadian merchants for Mother’s Day, chilled beef from Australia destined for Canadian supermarkets, and Atlantic lobster from Canada to Asia and to Europe.

Air Canada Cargo has operated more than 1,200 cargo-only flights since the end of March. Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo will continue to evaluate the opportunity to add additional all-cargo flights.

Air Canada announces its summer schedule, will operate Jetz aircraft on scheduled routes

Air Canada haas made this announcement:

  • New summer schedule includes nearly 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide
  • Options for new, fully-transferable voucher or Aeroplan Miles with 65% bonus starting June 1 mean more choices and flexibility for rebooking flights should travel plans change
  • Air Canada CleanCare+ biosecurity program offers greater protection from COVID-19 during all stages of the journey

Air Canada is offering customers a choice of nearly 100 destinations in Canada, the U.S. and around the world with an abridged schedule this summer. To ensure customers can book with confidence, the airline has implemented the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosecurity program and is introducing new cancellation options retroactive to March 1, 2020, to give customers greater flexibility and choice should their travel plans change for any reason.

“Air Canada has put in place an abridged summer schedule offering a choice of nearly 100 destinations across Canada, in the U.S. and internationally. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which as much as 95 per cent of our flights stopped operating and which has left us flying to less than half last year’s destinations, our customers are expressing their eagerness to travel,  where it is safe to do so. We are accordingly gradually opening for sale flights for the summer and beyond as we rebuild our network, leveraging our strong position as a global airline. Air Canada is ready for take-off, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

“While the world is making great progress against COVID-19, we know we must remain vigilant, which includes being flexible. This is why we are introducing two new solutions for customers should their travel plans change. In addition to our regular goodwill policies, starting June 1 we will offer customers the choice of a travel voucher with no expiry date that is fully transferable or to convert their booking into Aeroplan Miles and get an additional 65% bonus miles. Both options, retroactive to March 1, give customers greater confidence and flexibility to plan and book travel with Air Canada,” said Ms. Guillemette.

“Finally, to further ensure the safety of our customers and employees, we have introduced Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive biosecurity program to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Air Canada CleanCare+ works through multi-layered measures that limit unnecessary interactions, require the use of personal protective equipment and employ state-of-the-art cleaning techniques onboard our aircraft. We have further committed to adopt new strategies and technologies as they become available.”

Summer Schedule

Due to COVID-19, Air Canada has had to abridge its selling schedule for summer 2020, with 97 destinations down from 220 last year, which nonetheless offers wide opportunities for travel and connectivity. Within Canada, the schedule will increase from 34 routes in May to 58 routes in June, with more routes added in August and September.  Air Canada has also updated its schedule until the end of July with resumption of some services to the U.S., Caribbean, South American, European and Pacific markets.

As part of the new schedule, in accordance with provisions for air travel to the U.S. for Canadians, Air Canada will resume service to the U.S. on May 22, with six destinations being served by May 25, including New York-LaGuardia, Washington-Dulles, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. This is a reduction from 53 U.S. destinations served last year. There are tentative plans to resume more U.S. service as of June 22, pending regulatory changes and demand.

Internationally, Air Canada will continue to operate from its major hubs to key global destinations in June. This includes service from Toronto to Frankfurt, London, Zurich, Tokyo and Tel Aviv; from Montreal to Frankfurt, London, Paris and Brussels; and from Vancouver to London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul.

International services will expand further starting in June and early July, including: Montreal to Athens, Rome, Geneva; Toronto to Munich, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Rome and Athens; Calgary to Frankfurt; and, subject to government approval, Vancouver to Shanghai. 

Flexible Booking and Cancellation Policies

Under a revised goodwill policy, new bookings made up to June 30, 2020 can be changed without fees for original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

In cases where Air Canada cancels flights due to COVID-19, customers with refundable tickets will continue to have the option of refunds. Since January 1, 2020, Air Canada has refunded nearly $1 billion to customers.  Both customers with refundable and non-refundable tickets will have two new options to choose from:

  • An Air Canada Travel Voucher for the remaining value of their ticket that has no expiry date, is fully transferable and retains any residual value or;
  • The ability to convert the remaining value of their ticket into Aeroplan Miles, with 65 percent more value versus the normal rate for buying Miles.

For voluntary changes, customers with refundable tickets will continue to have the option of refunds or the above new options. For Air Canada customers with non-refundable tickets making voluntary changes on tickets issued up to June 30, 2020, with an original travel date between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 inclusive, they have the option to choose from the two above new options of an Air Canada Travel Voucher or Aeroplan Miles.

The new goodwill policies and cancellation options are retroactive for customers with original travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Customers whose flights have been cancelled due to the impacts of COVID-19 and who have already received travel credit valid for 24 months, will be able to select one of the applicable options depending on their fare at aircanada.com beginning June 15, 2020. Customers with Aeroplan Flight Rewards can continue to cancel their redemption bookings free of charge through June 30, 2020.

While our favourite sports teams are on hiatus, we’re bringing our fleet of Air Canada Jetz aircraft to you. The spacious cabin, with only 58 seats, provides more comfort and personal space. Experience Air Canada Jetz on select flights starting June 1.

While our favourite sports teams are on hiatus, we’re bringing our special fleet of Air Canada Jetz Airbus A319 aircraft to you.

Beginning June 1, 2020 we’re introducing our Air Canada Jetz aircraft on select flights between Toronto – Montreal and Toronto – Ottawa.

Flights will be departing from prime gate locations and begin boarding only 25 minutes before departure. The aircraft features only 58 seats, as compared to the 120 seats on our mainline A319s – an exclusive offering and spacious cabin configuration providing more comfort and less waiting time when boarding and deplaning.

Air Canada Jetz Express

We’ve also introduced Air Canada CleanCare+ featuring new and existing biosecurity measures designed to keep you safe during your travel with us.

Air Canada Jetz Express seatsAir Canada Jetz A319s feature in-seat power and on-board Wi-Fi (available for purchase)

Air Canada Jetz Express seat mapFeaturing only 58 seats for quicker boarding and deplaning

Air Canada Jetz Express seats angleSpacious recliner seats with 42-49 inch seat pitch, as compared to our mainline A319 Business Class pitch of 37 inches.

 

Flight schedule

Flight Depart Arrives
AC 490 Toronto (YYZ) 09:20 Montreal (YUL) 10:34
AC 491 Montreal (YUL) 16:45 Toronto (YYZ) 18:04
AC 492 Toronto (YYZ) 19:05 Montreal (YUL) 20:19
AC 493 Montreal (YUL) 07:00 Toronto (YYZ) 08:19
AC 496 Toronto (YYZ) 07:00 Ottawa (YOW) 08:00
AC 497 Ottawa (YOW) 09:00 Toronto 10:04 (YYZ)
AC 498 Toronto (YYZ) 17:00 Ottawa (YOW) 18:00
AC 499 Ottawa (YOW) 19:00 Toronto (YYZ) 20:04

Since March 22, Air Canada Cargo has moved 15.3 million kilograms, equivalent to the weight of 95 Boeing 777-300s, of essential goods, from PPE for our front-line workers, fresh produce and medicine across Canada and the world.

All photos by Air Canada.

Air Canada CleanCare+ Program introduces new personal safety and sanitary measures

Air Canada today announced the launch of Air Canada CleanCare+, a comprehensive program for personal safety and enhanced aircraft grooming to provide customers greater peace of mind during all stages of travel. The new program is designed to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 through such measures as mandatory pre-flight customer temperature checks in addition to required health questionnaires, seat assignment policies to allow for more personal space in Economy Class on all flights until June 30, 2020, and by providing all customers with care kits for hand cleaning and hygiene.

To supplement these individual measures, Air Canada CleanCare+ will also strengthen the airline’s industry-leading cabin grooming standards with the introduction of electrostatic spraying of cabin interiors. Air Canada will additionally expand its existing aircraft grooming procedures, which already incorporate the use of hospital grade disinfectant and specialized techniques to maintain cabin cleanliness across its fleet.

“While we are eager to see the reopening of economies and the restart of commercial aviation, the safety of our customers and employees is Air Canada’s core value and we aim to establish the highest standards of hygiene, cleanliness and attention to public health guidelines. We have been a leader in progressively introducing new measures in response to COVID-19, such as introducing Personal Protective Equipment for our employees and being the first North American carrier to require face coverings for customers. We are now the first airline in the Americas to administer pre-flight temperature checks system-wide. With Air Canada CleanCare+, we are introducing a comprehensive new program to give each customer added assurance for their well-being throughout all stages of their journey – and we intend to continue enhancing Air Canada CleanCare+ where we can with best practices from around the world, including increased use of screening tools, such as blood oxygen level testing, as they become available,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

“Air Canada CleanCare+ will not only provide protections at the personal level, by better monitoring our customers’ fitness to fly and providing for more personal space in Economy Class, but it also sets new standards for cabin cleanliness and ensures our employees have the best tools to maintain it. Coupled with other new safety practices we implemented earlier in response to COVID-19, Air Canada CleanCare+ will provide travellers with the confidence that they can book and fly safely with Air Canada as they consider their travel plans in the current environment.”

In order to ensure the safety and well-being of all customers, through the Air Canada CleanCare+ program Air Canada will introduce the following measures by May 15:

  • Customers travelling on Air Canada flights will be subject to an infra-red temperature check at all airports, the first airline in the Americas to announce such measures system-wide. The non-invasive procedure will complement the existing government-mandated health questionnaire currently completed by all travellers to determine their fitness to fly. Customers who are deemed unfit to travel will be rebooked at no cost but be required to obtain medical clearance prior to travel.
  • To promote more personal space in Economy Class aboard its aircraft, Air Canada will automatically block the sale of adjacent seats and cap the total number of seats sold for each flight. As a result, no customer in Economy Class will be required to sit immediately adjacent to another, unless they are required to do so to assist another customer with whom they are travelling. This policy will remain in effect until at least June 30, 2020.
  • Air Canada will begin distributing care kits containing hand sanitizers and other health items to all customers.
  • Air Canada has already been recognized by the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards for Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness in North America. With the onset of COVID-19 the airline has strengthened its cabin grooming standards and will begin using state-of-the-art electrostatic sprayers to ensure a deeper clean with hospital grade disinfectant.

Prior to Air Canada CleanCare+, Air Canada had already taken a number of measures in response to COVID-19. These will remain in effect and be included in the Air Canada CleanCare+ Program:

  • Requiring customers to wear face coverings during their travel, including at check-in, during boarding and as directed while onboard its aircraft.
  • Protocols for the use of Personal Protective Equipment by employees, including face shields and coverings, gloves and gowns by in-flight crew, along with other safety measures to encourage physical distancing, such as a revised boarding procedure and a new onboard service program.
  • To reduce personal interactions and promote physical distancing, Air Canada has adapted its check-in procedures. This includes making available on its self-serve web and mobile check-in and airport kiosk platforms government entry requirements, the mandatory health questionnaire and other relevant information. Air Canada is also working with airports on additional protective and sanitary measures.
  • Temporary adjustments to on-board service such as individual water bottles instead of bar service offerings and the removal of pillows and blankets. Air Canada enRoute and other non-safety literature have been removed from all seatback pockets. Air Canada partnered with a third-party company that monitors infectious diseases all over the world using Artificial Intelligence and other predictive tools and provides the company with information in real-time to ensure it is equipped to make appropriate and timely decisions.
  • For customers who have already purchased tickets and are looking to change their travel, Air Canada has revised its booking policies so there is no change or cancellation fee for existing or new bookings. Additionally, for customers whose flights have been cancelled due to the impacts of COVID-19, they can retain the unused amount of their ticket for up to 24 months.

Check-in


Health screening questions and pre-flight infrared temperature checks for customers, as well as the disinfection of frequently touched areas such as check-in counters and kiosks are just some of the measures implemented for your safety.

check-in illustration

1As a preventative measure, your temperature will be taken without contact.

2For the safety of everyone, our check-in kiosks are regularly cleaned.

3For your safety, all customers are required to wear protective face coverings.

4Hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed around the airport for your personal use.

5All of our check-in counters are thoroughly sanitized throughout the day.

6All of our employees wear face coverings, with other optional PPE (personal protective equipment) items available such as gloves.

7We’ll ask you a few health questions before you board to make sure you’re safe to fly.

Boarding


Ongoing cleaning of our gate areas, regular health screening questions for all customers, as well as mandatory face coverings for all employees and customers are steps designed to protect you, and everyone on board.

boarding illustration

1For your safety, we’re asking all customers to wear protective face coverings.

2All of our gate counters are cleaned regularly for your convenience.

3All of our employees wear face coverings, with other optional PPE items available such as gloves.

4As a precaution, you may be asked a few health-related questionsbefore boarding.

On board


All high-touch areas are sanitized with a hospital-grade disinfectant before every flight and each time an aircraft overnights it receives a thorough cleaning. Additional preventive measures like blocking the adjacent seat in Economy Class, mandatory face coverings, and adjusted on board service are also in place to better protect customers and employees.

onboard1 illustration

1For your safety, all seat belt buckles and seat controls are sanitized inside and out.

2We properly wipe and sanitize each armrestfor your health and comfort.

3We’re sanitizing cabin windows and shadesto help you enjoy the view.

4Your light switches and air circulation controls are properly sanitized to keep you safe.

5From May 15 to June 30, 2020 we’re blocking every adjacent seat in the Economy cabin to give you more personal space.

6Our crew sanitizes all ceiling areas when an aircraft overnights.

7When an aircraft overnights, we sanitize the inside of each overhead bin to keep your luggage clean.

8You can fly confidently, knowing our HEPA filtration systems capture 99.9% of airborne particles, and continually refreshes cabin air.

9For your safety, we’re asking all customers to wear protective face coverings.

10We sanitize each overhead bin handle.

11Our employees now wear face coveringsthroughout your flight, with other PPE items available.

12We use a disinfectant in the regular cleaning of our lavatories.

 

onboard2 illustration

1We’re sanitizing all tray tables before boarding for your safety.

2For your safety, we will be serving bottled water and pre-packaged meals on all flights.

3We’re rigorously grooming all headrest covers.

4We sanitize your personal screen and all surfaces of the in-flight entertainment area.

5We are introducing an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer as part of our sanitization procedures.

6We’re introducing new disposable Customer Care Kits that include complimentary hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

7We’re wiping down sidewalls for your peace of mind each time an aircraft overnights.

Air Canada reports first quarter 2020 results, retires Embraer 190 fleet

Air Canada today reported first quarter 2020 EBITDA(1) (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $71 million compared to first quarter 2019 EBITDA of $583 million  The airline reported an operating loss of $433 million compared to operating income of $127 million in the first quarter of 2019. At March 31, 2020, unrestricted liquidity amounted to $6.523 billion compared to unrestricted liquidity of $7.380 billion at December 31, 2019.

“Our first quarter results reflect the severity and abruptness of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Air Canada, which started to be felt across the global airline industry in late January with the suspension by many carriers, including Air Canada, of services to China. The impact was exacerbated during the month of March with mandated social distancing, unprecedented government-imposed travel restrictions in Canada and around the world and the shutting down of economies.  As significant as the financial damage has been, our prime concern remains the health and safety of our customers and our employees, whom I thank for their unwavering dedication under impossible conditions. I also want to acknowledge the pandemic’s effects upon all of our other stakeholders, particularly those in the travel trade community. Be assured that we are resolutely committed to bringing our airline successfully through this crisis,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

“The past quarter was the first in 27 consecutive quarters that we did not report year-over-year operating revenue growth. Our solid January and February results gave us every encouragement that this performance would continue until the sudden and catastrophic impact of COVID-19’s onset in Europe and North America in early March. We are now living through the darkest period ever in the history of commercial aviation.

“Over the last decade, we have infused entrepreneurial spirit, resilience, innovation and discipline into Air Canada’s DNA and these attributes will serve us well as we navigate through this crisis. Due to disciplined long-term capital allocation we ended 2019 with $7.380 billion in unrestricted liquidity and still have access to significant unencumbered assets to support additional financings. We reacted quickly to the severity and abrupt impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking numerous measures, including drawing down credit lines and completing other financings to increase our liquidity, reducing our close-in capacity by more than 90 per cent, instituting a significant cost reduction and capital reduction and deferral program and implementing a temporary furlough of the majority of our unionized and management workforce, as well as management wage reductions for continuing employees.

“We have developed a plan to manage through a protracted downturn, recognizing that the pandemic and its fallout will materially impact both customer demand and our liquidity in the short and medium term. Moreover, while the duration of the pandemic and its fallout remain unknown, it is our current expectation that it will take at least three years to recover to 2019 levels of revenue and capacity. We expect that both the overall industry and our airline will be considerably smaller for some time, which will unfortunately result in significant reductions in both fleet and employee levels. While it is not possible to predict the course of the pandemic globally or indeed the changes that will be required of the airline industry, our determination is to ensure that our company is positioned to emerge in the post-COVID-19 world as strong as possible and capitalize on the opportunities that will inevitably arise,” concluded Mr. Rovinescu.

Air Canada has taken or will take the following measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Air Canada has reduced second quarter 2020 capacity by 85 to 90 per cent when compared to 2019’s second quarter. Third quarter 2020 capacity is expected to be reduced by approximately 75 per cent when compared to the third quarter of 2019. The airline will continue to dynamically adjust capacity and take other measures as required to account for health warnings, travel restrictions, border closures globally and passenger demand.
  • In March 2020, Air Canada drew down its US$600 million and $200 million revolving credit facilities for aggregate net proceeds of $1.027 billion. As at March 31, 2020, Air Canada’s unrestricted liquidity amounted to $6.523 billion.
  • In April 2020, Air Canada concluded a 364-day term loan in the amount of US$600 million, secured by aircraft and spare engines, for net proceeds of $829 million. After giving effect to this facility and estimated declines in asset valuations as a result of COVID-19, Air Canada’s unencumbered asset pool (excluding the value of Aeroplan and Air Canada Vacations) amounts to approximately $2.6 billion. As part of Air Canada’s ongoing efforts to increase liquidity levels, additional financing arrangements continue to be pursued.
  • In late April 2020, Air Canada concluded a bridge financing of $788 million for 18 Airbus A220 aircraft which may be used for general corporate purposes and which Air Canada expects to replace with longer-term secured financing arrangements later in 2020 with the same lender.
  • In addition to cost savings associated with the significant capacity reductions, workforce reductions and other mitigation programs, Air Canada has initiated a company-wide cost reduction and capital reduction and deferral program which has now reached approximately $1.050 billion, increased from an initial target of $500 million, and continues to seek additional opportunities for cash preservation.
  • Air Canada is accelerating the retirement of 79 older aircraft from its fleet – Boeing 767, Airbus A319 and Embraer 190 aircraft, with the Embraer aircraft exiting the fleet immediately. Their retirement will simplify the airline’s overall fleet, reduce its cost structure, and lower its carbon footprint.
  • Air Canada suspended share purchases under its Normal Course Issuer Bid in early March 2020 and does not intend to renew it upon its expiry.
  • To assist with global requirements of goods and personal protective equipment during the pandemic, Air Canada has operated more than 500 all-cargo international flights since March 22, 2020, and plans to operate up to 150 all-cargo flights per week in the second quarter using a combination of Boeing 787 and Boeing 777 aircraft as well as four newly converted Boeing 777 and four converted Airbus A330 aircraft where it has doubled available cargo space by removing seats from the passenger cabin.
  • Air Canada has adopted the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) for most of its workforce which allowed it to return previously furloughed Canadian-based employees to its payroll for the March 15 to June 6, 2020 period.
  • Air Canada announced special benefits and accommodations for Aeroplan and Altitude members in light of COVID-19. These include pausing mileage expiration, grandfathering mileage-earned status, waiving certain change and redeposit fees, and launching new promotions so that members can earn additional Aeroplan Miles without leaving home.
  • Air Canada makes safety its first consideration in all that it does and has been continually incorporating new information about COVID-19 into its health and safety policies and procedures for travelers and employees in all workplaces, airports and onboard aircraft. This includes a requirement for customers to wear a protective face covering and measures to implement social distancing, as well as enhanced protective personal equipment for airport agents and crews, the encouragement of safe practices such as frequent hand washing and collaborating with the Canadian federal government to screen passengers to determine fitness for flying of all customers. For more details on preventative measures and policies please see: https://www.aircanada.com/covid19updates
  • To underscore its commitment to customer and employee safety, Air Canada will soon be introducing Air Canada CleanCare+. This program sets out all the health and safety measures being implemented at every touch point of the flight journey.

First Quarter Summary
Air Canada recorded a net loss of $1.049 billion or $4.00 per diluted share compared to net income of $345 million or $1.26 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2019. The first quarter of 2020 included foreign exchange losses of $711 million while the first quarter of 2019 included foreign exchange gains of $263 million. The airline reported an adjusted net loss(1)  of $392 million or $1.49 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2020 compared to adjusted net income(1)  of $17 million or $0.06 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2019.

Net debt of $4.170 billion increased $1.329 billion from December 31, 2019, reflecting the drawdown of Air Canada’s US$600 million and $200 million revolving credit facilities, partially offset by debt repayments of $509 million. The unfavourable impact of a weaker Canadian dollar, as at March 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019, increased foreign currency denominated debt (mainly U.S. dollars) by $692 million.  At March 31, 2020, Air Canada’s leverage ratio(1)   (net debt to trailing 12-month EBITDA ratio) was 1.3 versus a leverage ratio of 0.8 at December 31, 2019.

In the first quarter of 2020, net cash flows used in operating activities amounted to $20 million, a decrease of $3,131 million from the same quarter in 2019 on a deterioration in operating results and lower cash from working capital as a result of lower advance ticket sales, reflecting the severe and abrupt impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Cash flows from operating activities in the first quarter of 2019 were favourably impacted by receipts amounting to $1,612 million in conjunction with Air Canada’s acquisition of Aeroplan. In the first quarter of 2020, net cash inflows from financing activities amounted to $387 million, an increase of $689 million from the first quarter of 2019.

Proceeds from borrowings of $1,027 million in the first quarter of 2020 reflected the drawdown of Air Canada’s US$600 million and $200 million revolving credit facilities in March 2020. Debt repayments amounted to $509 million. Negative free cash flow(1)  of $393 milliondeteriorated by $972 million from the first quarter of 2019, reflecting lower cash flows from operating activities due to the severe and abrupt impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by a lower level of capital expenditures year-over-year.

Outlook and Major Assumptions
As indicated above, Air Canada expects to reduce second quarter 2020 capacity by 85 to 90 per cent when compared to 2019’s second quarter. Third quarter 2020 capacity is expected to be reduced by approximately 75 per cent when compared to the third quarter of 2019.  The airline will continue to dynamically adjust capacity and take other measures as required to account for health warnings, travel restrictions, border closures globally and passenger demand.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and significant uncertainty around resulting travel restrictions and passenger demand, concerns about travel due to the pandemic or precautions such as physical distancing, as well as the overall economic environment and recent significant volatility in fuel prices and foreign exchange rates, Air Canada is not providing assumptions around GDP, fuel prices or foreign exchange rates. In addition, Air Canada is withdrawing all guidance, including as previously announced, all first quarter and full year 2020 guidance as well as its full year 2021 guidance (including its free cash flow guidance for the 2019-2021 period).

(1) Non-GAAP Measures
Below is a description of certain non-GAAP financial measures used by Air Canada to provide readers with additional information on its financial and operating performance. Such measures are not recognized measures for financial statement presentation under GAAP, do not have standardized meanings, may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other entities and should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, GAAP results.  Readers are advised to review the section entitled Non-GAAP Financial Measures in Air Canada’s 2019 MD&A for a further discussion of such non-GAAP measures and a reconciliation of such measures to Canadian GAAP.

  • Adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted earnings (loss) per share – diluted are used by Air Canada as a means to assess the overall financial performance of its business without the after-tax effects of foreign exchange gains or losses, net financing expense relating to employee benefits, gains or losses on financial instruments recorded at fair value, gains or losses on sale and leaseback of assets, gains or losses on debt settlements and modifications, gains or losses on disposal of assets, and special items as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada as a means to view operating results before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization as these costs can vary significantly among airlines due to differences in the way airlines finance their aircraft and other assets. Air Canada excludes special items from EBITDA as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • “Leverage ratio” refers to net debt to trailing 12-month EBITDA leverage ratio and is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada as a means to measure financial leverage. Leverage ratio is calculated by dividing net debt by trailing 12-month EBITDA (excluding special items). As mentioned above, Air Canada excludes special items from EBITDA results (which are used to determine leverage ratio) as these items may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analysis to other airlines less meaningful.
  • Free cash flow is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada as an indicator of the financial strength and performance of its business, indicating the amount of cash Air Canada is able to generate from operations and after capital expenditures. Free cash flow is calculated as net cash flows from operating activities minus additions to property, equipment and intangible assets, and is net of proceeds from sale and leaseback transactions. Free cash flow in 2019 also excludes the one-time proceeds related to the Aeroplan acquisition.

Air Canada Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW C-FMZW (msn 19000124) YYZ (Jay Selman). Image: 404016.

Above Copyright Photo: Air Canada Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW C-FMZW (msn 19000124) YYZ (Jay Selman). Image: 404016.

Air Canada aircraft slide show:

Video:

Air Canada to temporarily suspend Transborder U.S. flights

Air Canada announced that it will suspend scheduled service to the U.S. after April 26 as a result of the agreement between the governments of Canada and the United States to extend border restrictions by an additional 30 days, effective today. Air Canada plans to resume service to the U.S. May 22, subject to any further government restrictions beyond that date.

Since March 16, Air Canada has reduced its schedule by more than 90 per cent as a result of COVID-19. Following the initial announcement of U.S.-Canada travel restrictions on March 21, Air Canada maintained limited service to 11 U.S. destinations from its three Canadian hubs, primarily to facilitate the repatriation of Canadians. The last scheduled commercial flight from the U.S. to Canadawill be on April 26.

Air Canada aircraft photo gallery: