Air Canada 2023 Success: Strong Financials & Strategic Growth

A group of Air Canada staff from all operations divisions.
Photo Credit: Air Canada

Canadian national carrier Air Canada capped off a successful 2023 with the release of its annual report.

The report highlights notable achievements in both financial performance and strategic initiatives across the year.

Financial Strength in 2023

Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer, underscored Air Canada’s consistent execution throughout the year. “We delivered very strong results,” he stated, “achieving key financial goals and exceeding most of our strategic and operational targets.”

Record annual operating revenue of $21.8 billion solidified this financial strength, accompanied by an impressive $2.3 billion in operating income.

Adjusted EBITDA more than doubled compared to the previous year, reaching nearly $4 billion.

Air Canada’s commitment to financial health is further emphasized by the significantly improved leverage ratio. This dropped notably to 1.1 times adjusted EBITDA from 5.1 at the end of 2022.

An Air Canada Cargo freighter is marshalled into a parking bay.
Photo Credits: Air Canada

Strategic Expansion: Network and Fleet

Beyond the focus on financials, strategic expansion played a crucial role for the airline in 2023. The addition of 14 new routes expanded their network to a total of 188 direct destinations.

To support this growth and enhance fuel efficiency, Air Canada invested in next-gen widebody and narrowbody aircraft.

To this end, the airline secured 18 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners and 5 Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft for future delivery.

Air Canada isn’t just about getting you there; it’s about getting you there comfortably. The airline completed 41 initiatives focused on enhancing the customer experience.

Operationally, this resulted in improved on-time performance and baggage handling. Furthermore, an acceleration its accessibility plans to cater better to customers with disabilities.

Air Canada staff in front of jet engine.

Investment in People and Technology

Air Canada recognizes its employees as a cornerstone of success. The year saw a significant increase in workforce with 8,000 new hires, bringing the total to approximately 39,000.

These employees benefit from ongoing investments in technology and customer service improvements, evidenced by the $1.6 billion in capital expenditures.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are also of paramount importance to Air Canada. They implemented a four-pillar DEI strategy, including an Executive Council, Steering Committee, Champions Program, and formalized Employee Resource Groups.

An Air Canada Cargo aircraft on the taxiway.

Diversification and Sustainability

Beyond its core operations, the airline group also actively diversified its business ventures. Aeroplan membership soared to an impressive eight million.

On the freight side, Air Canada Cargo efficiently utilized its seven freighters across over 12 destinations. Air Canada Vacations also saw a substantial rise in revenue.

Sustainability remained a key priority, with initiatives like incorporating modern, fuel-efficient aircraft and ground support equipment into the fleet.

Additionally, the group expanded its use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and continued to engage corporate customers through its Leave Less Travel Program.

Social responsibility is clearly woven into the national carrier’s fabric. Partnering with the Air Canada Foundation, the airline supported 360 Canadian charities dedicated to children’s health and well-being.

An Air Canada 737 MAX in flight.


Air Canada is Canada’s largest airline, the country’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network.

The airline provides scheduled service directly to more than 180 airports in Canada, the United States and Internationally on six continents. It holds a Four-Star ranking from Skytrax.

Its freight division, Air Canada Cargo, provides air freight lift and connectivity to hundreds of destinations across six continents using the airline’s passenger and freighter aircraft.

Air Canada aims to achieve an ambitious net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Enjoying a very strong year in 2023, the national carrier has positioned itself well for continued success in 2024.

The full 2023 Annual Report can be accessed here

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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