Air Canada Launches Free “Netflix-like” Streaming Service, Raises Another $1.23 Billion

Are you a streaming addict? Do you live in Canada? And lastly, are you an Aeroplan member? If you answered “yes” to all three questions then Air Canada has something great in store for you.

Canada’s flag carrier is offering a “Netflix-like” streaming service free of cost till 22 July.

New Picture 8 - Travel Radar - Aviation NewsAeroplan members can stream “over 200 titles, including classic films featuring the best of Canadian and cultural cinema” from the comfort of their homes. Air Canada Managing Brand Director, Andrew Shibata, stated:

With summer’s arrival, together with respected Canadian cultural partners, we are making a selection of acclaimed entertainment available at home through streaming to all Aeroplan members based in Canada. Through the great content we have curated for our customers, we are bringing summer celebrations to Canadians.

If you’re thinking “there must be a catch,” well there isn’t. In fact, the Aeroplan program is also free to join.  

Air Canada Raises Another $1.23 Billion 

Air Canada

Now back to business. Air Canada’s latest financial transactions had added an extra $1.23 billion to the airline’s cash reserves. This will put the total liquidity raised — to date — to $5.5 billion (since mid-March). The added finances are intended to help the carrier sail through the crisis spawned by the coronavirus.

The $1.23 billion financing has come in the form of secured notes worth $840 million and Class C pass-through certificates with proceeds of $405 million

Air Canada’s Managing Director and Treasurer, Pierre Houle, explained how this financing scheme will benefit the airline:

The fact Air Canada was able to add $1.23 billion to its liquidity with these last two transactions without utilizing any of its previously disclosed unencumbered assets leaves the airline in an excellent position to access additional funds should the need arise.

He also mentioned other cost-cutting techniques that the Montreal-based carrier is implementing such asworkforce reductions, a $1.1 billion Cost Transformation Program and capacity and network rationalization.” 

Houle says that Air Canada is now in a relatively stable position and that it will “navigate through this crisis.” The airline hopes to maintain the total liquidity, now amounting to approximately $5.5 billion, to meet the challenges lying ahead.

Additionally, it would like to end the second quarter with at least $9 billion in liquidity. 

Trudeau vs Rovinescu  

Though things are steadily recovering in the global aviation scene, Air Canada is having a tough time rebooting its flight operations.

A major obstacle in the way is the contradicting stance of the government and Air Canada’s senior management on lifting border restrictions. While Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu is advocating the removal of travel restrictions currently in place, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks they are necessary. 

Justin Trudeau
© Bloomberg

Trudeau thinks that easing travel restrictions can trigger another wave of COVID-19 infections. He warned against “moving too quickly” as it may cause the number of cases to increase and eventually out of control.

If we take steps too quickly, (and) if we are not sure of what we’re doing at each stage, we risk hitting a second wave.

On the other hand, we have Rovinescu, who says that the state’s current policies are hindering “the return to a more normalized aviation environment, and, quite frankly, stifling an economic recovery.” 

Air Canada’s demand for easing border restrictions is supported by many others in the industry.

Canada’s entire travel and tourism industry has rallied to appeal to the government to restart travel. An open letter to the Prime Minister can be found on the “Time-to-Travel” website — signed by more than 20 business leaders. It quoted “we believe it’s time to re-open our country to air travel in a safe, smart and measured way.”

Air Canada, WestJet and Porter Airlines are among the signatories of the letter.

Air Canada will fly to less than half of its normal destinations this summer. We hope it can recover from the crisis and take back to the skies.

Are you an Aeroplan member? Let us know below! 

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