April 4, 2014 / 12:17 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Air Canada forecasts higher Q1 earnings as traffic rises

(Adds detail, background, CEO quote, share movement)

April 3 (Reuters) - Air Canada on Thursday said it expects higher first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment, and aircraft rent (EBITDAR) due to system-wide traffic growth and capacity increase.

The airline on Feb. 12 said it expected EBITDAR to fall by between C$15 million ($13.6 million) and C$30 million from a year earlier, when it earned C$145 million.

The company now expects first-quarter earnings to be in line with last year’s level.

The company reported a higher revenue per available seat mile (RASM), as well as a better expense per available seat mile (CASM) in the first quarter.

The country’s largest carrier said it expects first-quarter system available seat mile (ASM) capacity growth of 3.8 percent from last year, which it earlier forecast at the lower end of the range of 3.5 to 4.5 percent increase.

Air Canada now expects first-quarter adjusted CASM to decrease in the range of 2 to 2.5 percent in the first quarter, compared to the 1 to 2.0 percent decrease projected earlier.

“For the month (March), traffic grew overall by 1.4 percent led by the U.S. transborder market, and for the quarter traffic grew 2.9 percent with increases in all markets Air Canada serves,” Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said in a statement.

The Montreal-based company also reported a capacity increase of 3.6 per cent in March.

Air Canada’s stock closed down 2.4 percent at C$5.76 on the Toronto Stock exchange on Thursday.

$1 = 1.10 Canadian dollars Reporting by Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Eric Walsh and Diane Craft

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