Air Canada exits the $5.9 billion bailout it lobbied for
Airline has been recalling employees, restoring service and adding routes
Air Canada, which for a year publicly pressed the government to offer emergency financial help to the airline industry, said it no longer needs the bulk of a $5.9 billion package announced just seven months ago.
The airline said Friday it’s withdrawing from the crisis arrangement after using some of the loans to refund tickets. It cited the travel recovery and improved liquidity. Almost $4 billion worth of loan facilities went unused, though the government still holds a 6 per cent equity stake it bought as part of the bailout structure.
“We deeply appreciate the Government of Canada’s support as this helped maintain a level playing field at a time when governments around the world, recognizing the importance of air travel to their economies, were also assisting their national carriers in the face of the unprecedented downturn caused by COVID-19,” chief executive officer Michael Rousseau said in the release.
Air Canada shares fell 1.5 per cent to $23.77 at 9:49 a.m. in Toronto, sliding along with other air carriers as Europe grapples with a new wave of the pandemic. The stock has fallen for eight straight days.