Air Canada suspends financial forecast for 2019 after Boeing 737 Max grounded

Analyst Walter Spracklin of RBC Dominion Securities advised investors not to be alarmed

Canada’s largest airline is suspending its financial guidance for this year following the decision by regulators in Canada and the United States to ground the Boeing 737 Max aircraft until further notice.

Air Canada said Friday that, “in light of the current uncertainty,” it is suspending the forecast it provided last month for its 2019 financial year.

The Montreal-based company said its guidance for the years 2020 and 2021 for return on invested capital and margin on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), as well as the cumulative free cash flow over the 2019-2021 period, remains in place.

Analyst Walter Spracklin of RBC Dominion Securities advised investors not to be alarmed.

WATCH: Canada bans Boeing 737 Max 8 plane following fatal Ethiopian crash

“We believe the company has avenues to work around the grounding, including the longer in-service use of older aircraft, possible access to third-party aircraft, the temporary use of different gauge aircraft and if necessary the temporary suspension of some routes,” he wrote in a research note.

Spracklin said the carrier’s suspension “does not come as unexpected and more importantly, we do not consider it to be impacting our longer-term view on the shares.”

Regulators around the world grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft over safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed everyone on board, including 18 Canadians.

Concerns have been raised regarding apparent similarities with a Lion Air flight involving the same aircraft that crashed off the Indonesian coast in October.

Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft out of 184 narrow-body planes in its fleet.

The Canadian Press

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