Air Canada, which is the world's eleventh largest airline, on Friday reported a net loss of $727 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.
This also includes an operating loss of $146 million for the fourth quarter, compared to the income of $72 million in the corresponding period for 2007. Attributing its losses to higher fuel costs and global slowdown, the Montreal-based airline said, ``A net loss of $727 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 included net losses on foreign exchange of $527 million.''
During the same period in 2007, the airline had netted an income of $35 million, including $20 million in foreign exchange. The airline said while its fuel bill increased $867 million or 34 per cent, to $3.4 billion, its passenger revenue rose only $384 million to $9.7 billion in 2008 because of increased fares and fuel surcharges. Air Canada president and CEO Montie Brewer said, ``2008 was a year marked by unprecedented volatility in fuel prices, significant fluctuations in foreign exchange and a worsening global economy. ``Our fourth quarter and full year results reflect these challenges.
However, we have a well established track record of adapting to challenges.'' In the current year, the airline boss said, he expected Air Canada to perform better in the North American market, compared to transatlantic markets, particularly Britain.
``In 2009, we expect the benefits from the decline in fuel costs to more than offset the decrease in revenues resulting from reduced demand due to the economic downturn,'' he added.As part of its cost-cutting measures, Air Canada has been laying off staff and cutting flights since mid-2008 when fuel costs hit record levels.
The airline has a total staff of 24,000 worldwide. Even though it became the first North American airline to acquire latest generation, fuel-efficient Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in 2008, it announced cut or reduced many long-haul flights to save money.