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Quarterly civil aviation statistics, second quarter 2018

Released: 2018-11-20

The number of air carriers decreased from 26 in 2017 to 25 in 2018, as one Level II air carrier was reclassified to Level IV. Total operating revenue for the 25 largest Canadian air carriers increased 8.4% from the second quarter of 2017 to $6.3 billion in the second quarter. Total operating expenses grew 14.8% to $6.1 billion, mainly driven by higher fuel prices year over year and by the increase in capacity.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Operating revenue and expenses, Canadian air carriers
Operating revenue and expenses, Canadian air carriers

Second consecutive net loss following four quarters of profits

Net operating income fell 56.3% to $226.4 million in the second quarter. This amount, combined with a net non-operating loss of $296.5 million, produced a net loss of $70.1 million. This marked the second consecutive net loss following four quarters of profits.

Canadian Level I and II air carriers spent $1.7 billion to purchase turbo fuel, up 32.0% compared with the same quarter a year earlier, and paid $1.1 billion in wages, salaries and benefits (+8.3%) to their 60,696 employees. The average number of employees was up 8.8% over the second quarter of 2017. Other operating expenses accounted for the largest share (54.1%) of total operating expenses in the second quarter, followed by turbo fuel (27.4%) and wages, salaries and benefits (18.5%).

These airlines recorded a profit margin (net income divided by operating revenue) of negative 1.1%. In other words, every dollar of service sold in the second quarter resulted in a loss of 1.1 cents for these carriers.

The number of passengers rises at a slower pace

The 25 Canadian air carriers carried 22.5 million passengers in the second quarter, up 5.5% from the second quarter of 2017. This followed a 5.8% gain in the first quarter of 2018 and represented the smallest increase in six quarters. The number of passengers flying on scheduled flights rose 5.9% to 22.0 million, while the passenger counts on chartered flights decreased 8.6% to 509,000. All three sectors posted gains: domestic (within Canada) rose 4.8% to 11.8 million passengers; transborder (between Canada and the United States) grew 5.3% to 5.0 million passengers; and other international increased 7.3% to 5.7 million passengers.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Passengers carried, by sector, Canadian air carriers
Passengers carried, by sector, Canadian air carriers

Traffic and capacity for scheduled services both recorded notable increases in the second quarter. Year over year, traffic was up 7.8% to 55.0 billion passenger-kilometres, while capacity rose 7.1% to 66.4 billion available seat-kilometres.

With the gain in demand greater than the increase in capacity, carriers recorded a slightly higher passenger load factor in the second quarter (82.8%) for their scheduled services than in the same quarter a year earlier (82.3%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Passenger load factor, Canadian air carriers
Passenger load factor, Canadian air carriers

  Note to readers

This release covers Canadian Level I and II air carriers. The number of air carriers decreased from 26 in 2017 to 25 in 2018, as one Level II air carrier was reclassified to Level IV. This carrier is included in 2017 data.

Level I air carriers include every Canadian air carrier that, in the calendar year before the year in which information is provided, transported at least 2 million revenue passengers or at least 400 000 tonnes of cargo.

Level II air carriers include every Canadian air carrier that, in the calendar year before the year in which information is provided, transported (a) at least 100,000 but fewer than 2 million revenue passengers; or (b) at least 50 000 tonnes but less than 400 000 tonnes of cargo.

Net non-operating income and loss are from commercial ventures that are not part of the air transportation services; from other revenues and expenses attributable to financing or other activities that are not an integral part of air transportation; and from special recurrent items of a non-periodic nature. Provision for income taxes is also included. Non-operating income can be, for example, capital gains from the sale of aircraft, interest income and foreign exchange adjustment, while non-operating expenses can include capital losses and interest on bank loans and other debt.

Data in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

Data for the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 have been revised.

Due to rounding, components may not add up to the total.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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