MONTREAL - Air Canada says it has raised $1.59 billion from share and debt offerings to refill its coffers as cash drains out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company says it sold 35.4 million voting shares at $16.25 apiece for gross proceeds of $575.6 million.

It also issued $1.02 billion in convertible senior unsecured notes due in 2025, well above its initial plan for about $540 million.

Chief financial officer Michael Rousseau says the financing proceeds help to restore Air Canada's liquidity strength after confinement measures and border shutdowns “destroyed demand and depleted cash.”

The CFO says a positive reaction from the public markets amounts to “a strong endorsement” of the airline's strength despite more than $1 billion in losses in the first quarter.

Air Canada says the underwriters exercised their over-allotment option to buy 15 per cent of the shares on offer, and initial buyers of the convertible notes exercised their option to purchase an additional 15 per cent.