Record Passenger Revenues for Air Canada in 4Q22

Heathrow, T2A, airside, passenger silhouetted, Air Canada aircraft taxiing in background.
Photo Credit: Air Canada.

LONDON – Air Canada has doubled its Q4 passenger revenue results in 2022, compared to 2021, and exceeded its pre-pandemic Q4 2019 results by 2%.

Solid Demand and Deep Resilience

In a statement issued on 17 February, Air Canada announced record Q4 passenger revenues of over 4 billion Canadian Dollars (CAD). In addition record Q4 operating revenues of over 4.6 billion CAD were disclosed, which was 71% higher than Q4 2021 and 6% higher than Q4 2019.

For its full year results, Air Canada announced that passenger revenues of 14.238 billion CAD had more than tripled its 2021 results and recovered its performance to approximately 83% of 2019 passenger revenues.

Operating revenues in 2022 had recovered to 250% of 2021 results, with a result of 16.556 billion CAD and at approximately 87% of the figures seen in 2019.

The airline made a loss of 493 million CAD in Q4 2021 due to the pandemic restrictions. For full-year 2022 results, the carrier made a 1.7 billion CAD loss, compared to a 3.6 billion CAD loss in 2021.

The positive performance in Q4 2022 has clearly assisted in improving the carrier’s recovery, reducing loss and debts incurred due and since the pandemic.

CEO and President, Michael Rousseau, said that their performance was attributable to “the deep resilience we have built into our company for long-term stability.”

The Montreal-based carrier reported operations cash flows in Q4 2022 of 647 million CAD and positive free cash flow of 320 million CAD. Rousseau also said one of the factors of the positive performance was “diligent cost control.”

There were also positive results for the operator’s strategy of diversifying their revenue sources such as focusing on core passenger business through loyalty schemes, premium cabin offerings, package holidays and cargo.

The increase in revenue and demand can also be attributable to the easing of travel restrictions across North America and Europe, with key Air Canada markets easing restrictions during the second half of 2022. Most of Canada’s restrictions were removed in September 2022.

Positive Outlook

In looking forwards to 2023, Rousseau said: “We are very encouraged with the positive outlook ahead. Our quarterly ticket sales were 102 per cent of the fourth quarter of 2019, on a lower level of capacity, and we expect a solid demand environment in 2023.”

Air Canada reaffirmed their continuation of building their network and renewing the narrow-body fleet. The operator is increasing its available seat mile (ASM), a measure of an airline’s capacity, by 50% of its 2022 offering.

In the second half of 2022, Air Canada completed its receipt of the new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. It also received an additional Airbus A220 in January 2023.

The new narrowbody fleet types provide increased range and fuel efficiencies to the carrier as part of its fleet renewal.

The Canadian flag carrier carried more than 36 million people in 2022 and, in the words of Rousseau, they intend to continue providing “an elevated level of customer service and continuous value from our airline in 2023 and beyond.”

Photo Credit: BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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