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Air Canada's Q3 adjusted profit rises 60% as stock triples this year

Air Canada (TSE:AC.B) said its adjusted net income soared 60% in the third quarter, a blue skies result for investors who have watched its stock rocket more than 200% this year.

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Air Canada (TSE:AC.B) said its adjusted net income soared 60% in the third quarter, a blue skies result for investors who have watched its stock rocket more than 200% this year.

Canada's largest carrier reported an adjusted profit of $365 million, versus adjusted net income of $229 million in the third quarter of 2012. The adjusted earnings amounted to $1.29 per share, 26 cents higher the mean analyst estimate.

Adding back special items into the results, Air Canada's net income fell 17% to $299 million or $1.05 per share, compared to net income of $359 million or $1.28 per share in the same quarter of the previous year, which included a $127 million retirement-related charge.

“I am extremely pleased to report Air Canada’s best quarterly performance in the corporation’s history,” said chief executive Calin Rovinescu. “These results underscore the momentum that has been achieved in executing on the foundations of our transformation strategy — sustainable profitability and positioning Air Canada as a stronger national and global competitor.”

System passenger revenues rose 5% to $3.2 billion, as traffic grew 2.9%. Passenger revenue per available seat mile increased 1.8%, while the carrier's third quarter load factor was 86.2%. In the premium class cabin, Air Canada said passenger revenue increased 2.1% on yield growth of 3.8 per cent as traffic declined 1.7% from last year's third quarter.

Air Canada's adjusted cost per available seat mile (CASM) which excludes fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations and unusual items, decreased 3.4%. In the fourth quarter, Air Canada expects adjusted CASM to decrease 2 to 3% over the same period last year. Available seat miles increased 3% to 19.4 billion. The company expects ASM to grow between 3 to 4% in the fourth quarter.

Separately, Air Canada announced it was planning to gradually close its Winnipeg reservations call centre over the next few years and consolidate most of the 77 employees there at its operations at the city's airport.

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