Air Canada Q1: Mixed Results With Net Loss Despite Revenue Rise

An Air Canada 787-9 in flight
Photo Credit: Air Canada

Air Canada has disclosed its performance for the first quarter of 2024. Taken overall, the carrier reported a net loss of $81 million, set against total operating revenues of $5.2 billion. This represented a year-on-year revenue rise of 7%.

The Q1 loss compares with a net income gain of around $4 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

The company displayed revenue growth, improved profitability, and a commitment to operational efficiency, paving the way for a busy summer season.

Financials In Q1

Air Canada’s first quarter was marked by a 7% year-over-year increase in operating revenue, reaching a total of $5.2 billion.

This positive trend was mirrored in adjusted EBITDA, which grew by $42 million to $453 million.

A net loss of $81 million was recorded for the quarter, notably down year-on-year from 2023.

Free cash flow surpassed a significant milestone of $1 billion, largely driven by strong performance in operating activities.

The company made significant progress in its debt reduction strategy, reflected in a lower net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio of 0.9 at the end of the quarter.

An Air Canada A220 approaches to land.
Fletcher, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Operational Strength

What was lacking in the bottom line, Air Canada made up for in its operational performance. The company reported an 11% increase in operated capacity, perhaps demonstrating an ability to respond to growing travel demand.

Air Canada’s capacity expansion was accompanied by a significant double-digit improvement in on-time arrivals, a key metric for customer satisfaction.

By prioritizing operational efficiency, Air Canada positions itself to capitalize on the anticipated surge in travelers during the upcoming summer season.

The carrier transported 11 million customers throughout the first quarter of the year.

Photo Credit: Air Canada

Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada, expressed his gratitude to the company’s employees, acknowledging their hard work in ensuring a smooth and safe travel experience for passengers.

Despite the mixed bag in Q1, the national airline believes it has a sound footing to move forward from, as evidenced in Rousseau’s comments.

“We are confident in our ability to deliver on our full year 2024 guidance,” he noted. As we look toward the summer, we see a continued healthy demand environment.”

Future Outlook

Air Canada retains a position of confidence in its ability to achieve its full-year 2024 guidance. The company now anticipates a robust summer season fueled by a healthy travel demand environment.

This optimism translates into strategic investments aimed at strengthening Air Canada’s global network. The company plans to allocate resources to optimize its network and unlock long-term value for its shareholders.

An Air Canada 737 MAX in flight.
Photo Credit: Air Canada.

One key element of this strategy involves the expansion of Air Canada’s fleet. The company is securing additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft scheduled for delivery later in 2024.

These new planes will enter service in 2025, further bolstering Air Canada’s capacity and catering to growing travel needs.

To meet the demands of the upcoming summer season, Air Canada also expects to increase its second-quarter capacity by approximately 7% compared to the same period in 2023.


Air Canada’s first-quarter performance was something of a mixed bag for the airline. The year opening showed a continued drive towards operational efficiency, cost management, and strategic investments.

From this springboard, the airline maintains its financial outlook for the remainder of 2024.

Air Canada sets its sights on the projected busy summer travel season. With hopes for a boost in business travel, the Q2 results for the airline will be of interest.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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