Air Canada suspends first quarter, 2019 forecast, citing Boeing Max groundings

Air Canada suspends first quarter, 2019 forecast, citing Boeing Max groundings

Canada’s biggest carrier Air Canada became the first major airline on Friday to suspend its previously stated financial forecasts for 2019, after the grounding of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX planes on safety concerns.

Canada grounded the planes on Wednesday after an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all people on board. Later, Boeing suspended MAX deliveries to airlines.

The planemaker’s suspension of deliveries came as Air Canada, with 24 MAX jets, had expected to take more than a dozen of the fuel-efficient jets this year as part of a plan to replace its aging Airbus narrowbodies.

Compared with its existing Airbus A320s, the airline had estimated that the MAX 8 aircraft would deliver 11 per cent lower cost per available seat mile (CASM), a closely-watched industry metric, driven by savings on fuel and maintenance costs.

Air Canada was expecting full-year 2019 adjusted cost per available seat mile (CASM), a key industry metric, to increase between 2 per cent and 3 per cent compared with 2018.

It had projected annual core profit margin of between 19 per cent and 22 per cent from 2019 until 2021. However, the Montreal-based company said its forecast for 2020 and 2021 for annual profit margin remained in place.

Rival WestJet Airlines Ltd operates 13 MAX jets. The carrier was not immediately available for a comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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