Stock of the Week: Air Canada

It takes two vaccinated countries to travel.

Andrew Willis 28 June, 2021 | 4:28AM
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Andrew Willis: Coming from the lows of 2020, it’s tempting for investors to catch a ride on airline stocks as they make their way back up. But coming back from the worst operating environment in the history of the industry doesn’t come without turbulence…

For one, there will be major discrepancies between regional and international revenue sources. And Air Canada is an example of a business structure that’s vulnerable in this kind of environment.

Equity analyst Burkett Huey explains that before the pandemic hit, Air Canada had a strategy known as ‘Sixth Freedom Traffic’ to serve mostly U.S. nationals on long-haul international flights - picking up Canadians along the way…

But until other countries can catch up on vaccination distribution, being tethered to such international travel arrangements will be a weakness. Now, we’re seeing short-haul leisure travel making up most of the traffic today – an area where Air Canada operates – but where it will struggle to be profitable as it shares costs with its international operations.

We forecast it could take until 2024 for Air Canada to pick up where it left off in terms of passenger capacity, but we see the recovery accelerating next year. And while currently trading around a fair value, it’s not a bad time for long-haul investors to get on board.

For Morningstar, I’m Andrew Willis.


Editor's Note: All images are courtesy of and AP Images. 

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar Rating
Air Canada Shs Voting and Variable Voting17.16 CAD-0.23Rating

About Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis  is Senior Editor at Morningstar Canada. He previously produced content for Fidelity Investments and finance industry events for Euromoney Institutional Investor and has written in the past for Thomson Reuters and CNN. Follow him on Twitter @Andrew_M_Willis.

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