FILE PHOTO: Air Canada airplanes are pictured at Vancouver’s international airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ben Nelms
(Reuters) – Air Canada beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit on Friday, as it earned more from each seat sold, offsetting higher fuel costs and other expenses.
Canada’s largest airline said revenue passenger mile rose about 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
Air Canada has been focusing on improving margins and increasing capacity on key domestic and international routes amidst stiff competition from rival WestJet Airlines, but high fuel costs have continued to challenge the company’s profit.
The carrier reported a loss of C$231 million ($173.87 million), or 85 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter, compared with a profit of C$8 million, or 2 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Fuel costs surged nearly 25 percent in the quarter, pushing operating expenses up about 12 percent to C$4.12 billion.
Excluding items, the company earned 20 Canadian cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 15 Canadian cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The Montreal-based company’s operating revenue rose to C$4.25 billion from C$3.82 billion.
($1 = 1.3286 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli