Air Canada. (The Canadian Press)

Hampered by international restrictions, Air Canada sees domestic sales nudge up

Air Canada predicted last month it would bleed about $20 million per day in the second quarter

Air Canada’s chief financial officer says the airline is starting to see “some improvement” in domestic bookings, but that international travel will only improve when governments start to lift travel restrictions.

Michael Rousseau told investors at a National Bank event that leisure travel within Canada is the first area to see an uptick as interprovincial travel barriers are scaled back.

He expects domestic business trips to pick up as early as September, followed by international leisure and business travel, but said the lucrative summer European market is passing the company by this year.

Air Canada predicted last month it would bleed about $20 million per day in the second quarter as border shutdowns and tanking travel demand persist due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rousseau says the airline does not expect passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

Ottawa continues to require passengers returning from abroad to self-isolate for two weeks, with the number of international travellers down by 97 per cent year over year at the start of this month, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

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