Air Canada strengthens finances in face of pandemic

Air Canada has raised an additional C$1.23 billion in financing to help offset the Covid-19 downturn, bringing the total to C$5.5 billion since the pandemic struck in mid-March.

The Montreal-based airline received C$823 million and C $405 million in new transactions.

The latest deals mean that the airline has raised C$5.5 billion in liquidity since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.

The private offering of financial notes due in 2024 with 9% interest was secured by “certain real estate interests, ground service equipment, certain airport slots and gate leaseholds utilised in connection with those routes”.

Air Canada also completed a private offering earlier in June of about US$315 million and an interest rate of 10.5%.

Managing director and treasurer Pierre Houle said: “The fact Air Canada was able to add C$1.23 billion to its liquidity with these last two transactions without utilising any of its previously disclosed unencumbered assets leaves the airline in an excellent position to access additional funds should the need arise.

“Complementing these efforts have been ongoing initiatives to reduce cash burn through such measures as workforce reductions, a C$1.1 billion cost transformation programme and capacity and network rationalisation.”

He added: “We entered 2020 on the doorstep of investment grade with a very strong balance sheet, low net leverage and significant liquidity, before the Covid-19 pandemic and government-imposed quarantines and border restrictions destroyed demand and depleted cash.

“Air Canada’s strong relative position has allowed us to navigate through this crisis and we have full confidence that we will be successful in maintaining liquidity at levels more than sufficient to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

“With these latest transactions Air Canada has now raised approximately C$5.5 billion in 2020 and expects to end the second quarter of 2020 with at least C$9 billion in liquidity.”

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