Air Canada has recorded another quarterly loss over Q3 2022, although the airline is slowly cutting its losses as its recovery continues. The Canadian carrier posted net losses exceeding $370 million for Q3, despite generating its first positive quarterly operating income since the pandemic. Let’s explore Air Canada’s latest results in more detail below.

Air Canada losses continue

The latest quarterly results from Air Canada reveal the airline continues to narrow its losses as it restores capacity. Despite incurring net losses of over half a billion CAD (US$373 million) over Q3 2022, the airline remains optimistic about where it is headed. After dealing with what it deemed “a difficult June and July”, the carrier implemented considerable operational improvements over August and September and said it has now achieved operational parity with pre-pandemic levels.

Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner

Photo: Getty Images

Michael Rousseau, President and CEO of Air Canada, said,

“Air Canada’s solid third-quarter results stem from the ongoing restoration of our extensive network, an improved operational performance, our modern and efficient fleet, as well as leading products and services, and an incredible team of employees.”

Last quarter’s loss is still an improvement on Air Canada’s Q3 2021 losses of C$649 million ($476 million). The airline does not seem concerned that Q3s losses are deeper than the airline’s Q2 2022 net losses of C$386 million ($301 million) either, noting a sizable $698 million foreign exchange loss.

Air Canada is still a way off from achieving its pre-COVID capacity – the airline hit 79% of its 2019 capacity (as measured by available seat miles) last quarter, although it generated 94% of Q3 2019’s passenger revenue ($3.53 billion) owing to higher yields.

Huge improvements from last year

Air Canada’s situation during the last quarter was worlds away from its predicament in 2021. With international travel demand sharply returning this year, Air Canada raked in more than two-and-a-half times the revenue in Q3 2022 ($3.9 billion) compared to 2021, outperforming estimates from analysts.

Air Canada Airbus A220-300

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Rousseau explained,

“We generated $644 million in operating income with a strong operating margin of 12.1%. This was the first quarter since the pandemic began in which we delivered positive operating income. In addition, we achieved significant improvements in other metrics from a year ago. Operating revenues more than doubled to $5.3 billion, on a capacity growth of 130%, and EBITDA increased to over a billion, with a margin of 19.9%. Yields also improved, helping offset higher fuel prices.”

The carrier’s capacity went up by 130% with almost 11.5 million passengers served over the three-month period. Additionally, the airline calculated its adjusted cost per available seat mile (CASM) at 11.6 cents, a major improvement from 18.7 cents in 2021 and slightly better than Q2 2022 (13.1 cents) – however, Q3’s CASM is still almost 15% higher than what Air Canada managed before the pandemic.

What does the future hold?

There are plenty of reasons for Air Canada to remain optimistic this winter. In its outlook for the upcoming fourth quarter, the airline estimates it will operate at 60% more capacity than in 2021 and hit around 85% of its 2019 capacity. For the full year, capacity will be 148% higher than in 2021, although this is just 73% of its pre-COVID levels.

President and CEO Rousseau added,

“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding and loyalty and assure them that the lessons of this operationally challenging period are now being applied to build greater resiliency going forward and to elevate the customer experience overall. Air Canada marked its 85th anniversary this quarter. We stand on a robust foundation and, with our most recent financial results, investments and strategic plan, are confident we have a bright future in connecting Canada and the world.”

There are some significant challenges facing Air Canada this winter and beyond, particularly rising operational costs. The carrier envisions it will be dealing with a higher CASM which it attributes to “an increase in wages, salaries and benefits, costs related to a higher number of passengers carried versus prior expectations, as well as the impact of the weakening of the Canadian dollar.”

How do you see 2023 playing out for Air Canada? Have you flown with the carrier this year? Let us know in the comments.

  • Air Canada Airbus A320-211 C-GQCA

    Air Canada

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Calgary International Airport, Montréal–Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Michael Rousseau



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