The federal government lends $ 788 million to Air Canada without request the carrier to refund the thousands of customers who have seen their bookings cancelled.
Air Canada announced the funding last week, but without mentioning that it came from Export Development Canada (EDC), a federal Crown corporation.
The loan is secured by four Airbus aircraft A220 recently acquired by Air Canada and 14 other that the company must receive by the end of the year. The funds may be used “for general corporate purposes,” said Air Canada.
This temporary funding must be replaced by a long-term loan to EDC, and this ” to the end of 2020 “, a-t was specified.
“EDC is here to support canadian businesses, no matter what happens “, said a spokesperson, Zoe de Bellefeuille, ensuring that the organization was not giving subsidies.
Air Canada is also one of the main beneficiaries of the wage subsidy emergency, which gives him a net gain of approximately$ 37 Million per month. The program was expected to end in early June, but last week, the prime minister Justin Trudeau said it would be extended for ” a good time “.
“The butter and the money of butter “
In Option Consommateurs, we would like to see Ottawa binds all financial support to the obligation to refund passengers whose flights have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
Otherwise, “it’s like having the butter and the butter’s money,” said Élise Thériault, lawyer for the organization.
For now, Air Canada and other carriers are content to provide credits valid for two years.
Professor Jacques Roy, HEC Montreal, however, preclude such an obligation as the airline industry will not have a program-specific help.
According to its most recent financial statements, Air Canada holds more than $ 2.6 billion in amounts paid by customers for trips that have not yet occurred.
At the beginning of the crisis, EDC is coming to the aid of another airline : Porter— Airlines, which has received funding of$135 Million.