Air Canada ‘encouraged’ by airline industry bailout talks with government

Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said he is finally seeing encouraging signs emanating from discussions with the federal government concerning a bailout package for an industry decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am also very encouraged by the constructive nature of discussions that we have had with the Government of Canada on sector-specific financial support over the last several weeks. While there is no assurance at this stage that we will arrive at a definitive agreement on sector support, I am more optimistic on this front for the first time,” Rovinescu said in a press release on Friday announcing the company’s 2020 financial results.

The Canadian government has mused about a possible boost for the laboring industry since the onset of the pandemic last spring but no concrete announcements have been made.

The company is also hoping for relaxed quarantine requirements sometime in the first half of the year, the company said, citing the preliminary results of a study looking into the effectiveness of travel testing regimes. The study, conducted by McMaster Health Labs and the University of Toronto, is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2021.

However, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam cautioned against making bold assumptions, saying “it’s probably premature right now to know what is happening at the end of April.”

Canada’s flagship airliner reported an operating loss of $2.97 billion in 2020, with revenues declining by 70 percent – $10.47 billion – year-over-year.


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