Air Canada reports a wider loss as COVID-19 restrictions hit traffic

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Air Canada on Friday reported its fifth straight quarterly loss despite securing a C$5.9 billion ($4.84 billion)government aid package, as rising coronavirus infections in parts of the world and travel restrictions limited traffic.

The Montreal-based airline has been focusing on cargo and domestic flights, as strict Canadian restrictions forced it to slash capacity for international travel and cut costs while a third wave of COVID-19 infections in the country ravages demand.

Canada is facing a slower recovery in air travel compared to the United States, where an accelerated COVID-19 vaccine rollout and falling numbers of cases and deaths have driven a surge in demand for summer flights.

Air Canada projects a net cash burn of between $13 million and $15 million per day in the second quarter of 2021.

Operating revenue fell to $729 million in the first quarter from $3.72 billion a year earlier.

Canada’s largest carrier reported a loss of C$1.30 billion, compared with C$1.05 billion.

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