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Chorus Aviation Inc. says it’s focused on cost cutting as it reports a first quarter loss as the COVID-19 outbreak significantly disrupts the airline industry.

The regional aviation company says it had a net loss of $17.3-million for the quarter ending March 31, compared with earnings of $33.45-million last year, as net income decreased $50.7-million due to a change in net unrealized foreign exchange losses.

Chorus says adjusted net income was $25-million, up from $19-million last year, as it started off the year in a good financial shape before the pandemic hit.

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The company says it has now furloughed more than 3,000 employees, deferred and reduced capital expenditures, and reduced compensation for management and staff to trim costs.

The reductions come as its contract work for Air Canada Express has been reduced by about 90 per cent for April and May, and delayed delivery of planes from Bombardier will also hit revenue in the partnership.

The company says it has also had to delay the planned expansion of its leasing division because of market uncertainty, and that “substantially all” of its current leasing customers have asked for some form of temporary rent relief.

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