Wednesday,  October 4, 2023  7:05 am

Air Canada prepays aircraft loans; health agency probing vomit incident

  • Air
  •   09-08-2023  6:02 am
  •   Pax Global Media
Air Canada prepays aircraft loans; health agency probing vomit incident
(Air Canada)
Pax Global Media

Air Canada says it has prepaid loans of approximately $462 million from Export Development Corporation (EDC) previously used by the company to help fund its acquisition of 14 Airbus A220-300 aircraft.

The prepayment, which is subject to accrued interest and break costs, was made on August 30, 2023.

The airline said it additionally prepaid financings of approximately $127 million supported by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (ExIm) previously used by the company to help fund its acquisition of four Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

The prepayment, which is also subject to accrued interest, was made on Sept. 6, 2023.

"One of Air Canada's top priorities following the pandemic is to deleverage and since late last year we have now pre-paid approximately $1.87 billion in debt. This strengthens our balance sheet and provides us more flexibility to make strategic investments, including to improve the customer experience, and to continue upgrading our fleet such as through our previously announced acquisition of Canadian-made Airbus A220 aircraft. With our very solid liquidity position and cash flow we will continue to look for more opportunities to reduce debt further. We were pleased to partner with EDC in supporting the Canadian aerospace industry and we thank Exlm for facilitating our acquisition of Boeing aircraft," said John Di Bert, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Air Canada, in a press release.

The prepayment for the financed aircraft was achieved via:

  • a full prepayment of the remaining loans under Air Canada's 2020 credit facility with EDC for the acquisition of Airbus A220-300 aircraft, and
  • a partial prepayment of Air Canada's financing arrangements supported by ExIm for the acquisition of four Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
  • As a result of the prepayments, these aircraft will be added to Air Canada's unencumbered asset pool, bringing the total to approximately $6.3 billion, excluding Aeroplan.

The amount of debt prepayments now totals approximately $1.87 billion, the airline said. 

PHAC investigates  

In other news, Air Canada has apologized after two women were removed from an aircraft by security after they refused to sit in vomit left in their seats from a flight from Las Vegas to Montreal.

In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, the passengers said Air Canada’s cabin crew “placed coffee grinds in the seat pouch and sprayed perfume to mask” the odour caused by the vomit.

In statement shared with Insider earlier this week, Air Canada said it has been in contact with the two impacted passengers following the incident.

"We are reviewing this serious matter internally and have followed up with the customers directly as our operating procedures were not followed correctly in this instance," the statement reads. "This includes apologizing to these customers, as they clearly did not receive the standard of care to which they were entitled and addressing their concerns."

The plane seat that was soaked with vomit has since sparked a larger discussion about the state of flight operations in Canada, and according to the Canadian Press, Canada’s public health agency is now involved.

As reported on Thursday (Sept. 7), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) confirmed that it has contacted Air Canada to investigate the episode.

PHAC says its mandate is to ensure that anything brought into the country, via planes or trains, does not risk transmission of illnesses that can be spread via contact with bodily fluids.

“Blood, vomit and diarrhea may contain micro-organisms that can cause disease,” the health agency told CP. “These fluids, and the surfaces that come in contact with them, should always be considered as contaminated.”

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