Air Canada posts biggest annual loss in nearly two decades

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Air Canada on Friday reported its biggest annual loss in at least 19 years as the coronavirus crisis hit bookings, with no breakthrough in talks with the government over further financial aid.

Airlines have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis that has led people to avoid air travel, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for the sector and thousands of job losses.

Air Canada, which was forced to cut more than 20,000 jobs in 2020, has been negotiating with the Liberal government since November for aid to support jobs, but progress has been slow amid disagreements over the funding amount.

The company said it plans to reduce its first-quarter capacity by about 85% compared with a year earlier, and projects quarterly net cash burn between C$1.35 billion and C$1.53 billion.

Air Canada’s fourth-quarter cash burn stood at C$1.38 billion.

The company’s net loss for 2020 was C$4.65 billion ($3.65 billion), or C$16.47 per share, compared with a profit of C$1.48 billion, or C$5.44 per share.

Full-year operating revenue plunged 70% to C$5.83 billion.

Main Photo: Air Canada planes at the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Canada. EPA-EFE/ANDRE PICHETTE

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