02/11/2015 04:19 EST | Updated 02/11/2015 05:59 EST

Air Canada Posts Record Profits As It Pockets Fuel Savings

It seems that Canadians just aren't doing enough to financially punish the airline whose customer service they love to mock.

Air Canada took in a profit of $531 million last year, beating 2013 returns by $191 million, according to financial results released Wednesday.

But it wasn't all good news for the airline. The company also experienced a $100 million quarterly net loss in its fourth quarter, which was $94 million greater than the loss it experienced in the same period in 2013, and largely attributable to the falling value of the Canadian dollar, said CBC News.

The results nevertheless represent the "best full year financial performance" in the airline's 77 years in business, according to president and CEO Calin Rovinescu.

"We served almost 3 million more customers in 2014, or a total of 38.5 million including 3 million customers on Rouge," he said in a statement. "We recorded our highest system load factor ever as we continued to expand our widebody fleet and grow internationally.

"Record results for a second consecutive year represent a significant step towards our goal of sustainable profitability, and allow us to pay out $46 million to employees through the profit sharing program, an increase of $15 million from the previous year."

While this is great news for Air Canada and its employees, it comes as the airline has followed competitor Westjet's lead in announcing that it will not pass savings from low fuel prices on to customers, Global News reported.

Rovinescu said on a conference call the airline would use the savings from fuel prices to pay down its debt and reinvest in flights and services.

Jet fuel is Air Canada's biggest expense, the network said, and its price has dropped almost 40 per cent as the price of oil has collapsed.

Westjet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky said last week the airline would not pass fuel price savings on to customers in the form of lower prices, The Globe and Mail reported.

"This is a supply and demand business and we price according to supply and demand," he was quoted saying on a conference call.

"If demand stays robust we continue the pricing strategy we've had in effect and we will take the opportunity to improve our bottom line."

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