Air Transat is a Canadian airline based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1986, it operates scheduled and charter flights serving 60 destinations in 25 countries.[9][10][11] Air Transat is owned and operated by Transat A.T. Inc., with 37 aircraft registered with Transport Canada as of September 2023.[4]

Air Transat
Air Transat headquarters in Montreal
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedDecember 1986; 37 years ago (1986-12)
Commenced operations14 November 1987; 36 years ago (1987-11-14)
AOC #Canada: 5311[2]
United States: ATFF123F[3]
Focus cities
  • Air Transat Cargo
Fleet size37[4][5]
Parent companyTransat A.T.
HeadquartersMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
  • Annick Guérard (president & CEO)
  • Marc-Philippe Lumpé (COO)
  • Susan Kudzman (president of the board of directors)[7]
RevenueIncrease CAN$2.9 billion (2019)[8]
Net incomeIncrease (CAN$9.4) million (2019)[8]
Total assetsIncrease CAN$1.5 billion (2015)
Employees5,100 (2020 pre-COVID-19)
1,700 (current)

History edit

Early years (1986–1999) edit

An Air Transat Airbus A310-300 at Manchester Airport in 2001

François Legault founded Air Transat with other business partners such as Jean-Marc Eustache, Philippe Sureau, Lina de Cesare, Yvon Lecavalier, and Pierre Ménard. Legault left the company in 1997 with no forewarning after a dispute with business partners, who only found out after the fact.[12][13]

Air Transat made its inaugural flight on 14 November 1987, travelling from Montreal to Acapulco. Six years later, Air Transat assumed defunct Nationair's maintenance base and aircraft. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transat A.T. Inc.

Expansion (2000–2018) edit

On 13 February 2009, Transat A.T. announced a five-year partnership with CanJet. Since 1 May 2009, Transat Tours Canada has chartered CanJet's Boeing 737 aircraft flying from Canadian cities to various destinations. This replaced an agreement with Calgary-based Westjet.[14]

On 13 February 2011, Air Transat Flight TS163 operated with the airline's first all-female flight crew from Cancun to Vancouver. The airline has won many awards, including the 2012, 2018, and 2019 Skytrax World's Best Leisure Airline Awards.[15]

On 12 September 2013, Air Transat struck a seasonal lease deal with Air France-KLM leisure carrier Transavia France, covering the lease of up to nine Boeing 737-800s by 2019. The deal, which extends a 2010 winter capacity agreement, called for Transavia France to lease four 737-800s to Air Transat during winter 2014, five in 2016, six in 2017, seven in 2018, and eight in 2019.[16]

Although the first two groups of refugees from Syria arrived in Canada on government aircraft in December 2015, the next two groups were on Air Transat aircraft; the first was Flight TS8500 from Amman, Jordan to Toronto, which departed on 20 December. Air Transat was unlikely to be the exclusive airline chartered by the Canadian government, especially if more than 35,000 refugees would arrive in 2016.[17] A spokesman advised the Toronto Star that the company had been confirmed as the airline that would bring the second group to Canada on 21 December.[18] In an Air Transat press release, Jean-François Lemay, the carrier's general manager made this statement: "We are very pleased to be the first Canadian airline company to engage in this major humanitarian effort, and to be assisting the Canadian government and international authorities in this way."[19]

In March 2016, Air Transat's head office in Saint-Laurent, Montreal was named among the greenest head offices in North America according to Corporate Responsibility magazine.[20]

In May 2017, Air Transat and Flair Airlines were accused by a CBC News story of misleading customers and regulators in Canada and Mexico by marketing and selling nonstop tickets between Edmonton and Cancun. CBC uncovered a letter in which the airlines admitted that they would frequently divert for a technical stop to refuel.[21]

Recent developments (2019–present) edit

In January 2020, Forbes Canada named Air Transat in its list of best employers, to eighth place nationally.[22]

Proposed acquisition by Air Canada edit

On 16 May 2019, Transat AT, the company that owns Air Transat, announced it was in exclusive talks to be purchased by Air Canada. An offer was subsequently made by the latter at C$13 per share and another company, Group Mach, offered C$14.

An Air Transat Airbus A330-300 in 2019, showing the current livery
A 2013 image of an Air Transat Airbus A310-300, showing a previous livery
An Air Transat Lockheed L-1011 in the 1995 livery

On 27 June 2019, the board of Transat AT accepted Air Canada's all-cash bid of C$520 million and did not comment on the C$527.6 proposal from Group Mach because the talks with Air Canada were still exclusive. The deal required approval by two-thirds of shareholders; some major investors and some financial analysts stated that the offer is below the true value of the company. Regulatory and governmental approval would be required for the sale of Transat AT. A May report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation stated, "regulatory approvals are no sure thing".[23] If the Air Canada purchase were successful, Air Transat would continue to operate as a separate brand.[24][25][26]

By 12 August 2019, Air Canada had increased its offer by nearly 40% to C$18 per share from $13, valuing the acquisition at $720 million (US$544 million), to obtain backing from Letko Brosseau, Transat AT's largest shareholder with 19% of the company.[27] The same day, the Quebec Administrative Court of Financial Markets rejected the rival bid from Groupe Mach; on 23 August, a 95% majority of Transat's voting shareholders approved the $18 per share Air Canada proposal.[28] The proposed transaction was to be publicly assessed by Transport Canada until 2 May 2020, with the buyout to close after that date.[29]

The buyout was delayed by the then ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aviation, and the share price of Transat AT fell to $5.16 by July 2020.[30] The buyout had not closed by 13 October 2020, when the two parties agreed to a revised offer of $5 per share, reducing the total value of the acquisition to $180 million.[31]

On 2 April 2021, the deal was dropped following a failure to secure European Commission approval.[32]

COVID-19 pandemic edit

On 23 July 2020, Air Transat announced that it would resume its service following a COVID-19 pandemic-induced interruption of 112 days.[30] In January 2021, as the pandemic continued, Air Transat announced it was again suspending its regular operations from 29 January to 30 April 2021 and all operations from 14 February to 30 April 2021.[33]

British consumer site MoneySavingExpert named Air Transat as one of the worst-performing travel firms for refunding passengers whose flights or trips were cancelled. The United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in a report examining the impact of COVID-19 on airline carriers' treatment of passengers to and from the UK during the pandemic, found that Air Transat was one of the airlines failing to provide cash refunds to passengers whose flights had been cancelled by the airline, in breach of the Flight Compensation Regulation.[34] The regulation requires airlines to refund passengers whose flights are cancelled under any circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic; the report also noted that CAA's inquiries, while preparing the report, had resulted in Air Transat assuring it that all cash payments would henceforth be handled properly.[34]

Destinations edit

Air Transat specializes in charter flights from 19 Canadian cities to vacation destinations, mainly to 15 countries in the south during winter and in 11 European countries during summer. Also, some destinations are provided all year round by the airline. During the summer season, its main destinations are Europe and in the winter season, the Caribbean, Mexico, the United States, and Central America, though the airline operates many year-round flights to Europe from their Toronto and Montreal bases. Its main Canadian gateways are Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport.[35] The airline also has operations at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, and Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, among others.

Codeshare agreements edit

Magazine edit

Atmosphere is the semi-annual inflight magazine of Air Transat.[38] It was founded in 2006 and the first issue was published in March 2006.[39] The magazine is published in English and in French.[39] The publisher is Business Class Media.[39] Formerly it was published on a quarterly basis, but then was published semi-annually.[40]

Fleet edit

Current fleet edit

As of April 2024, Air Transat operates an all-Airbus fleet consisting of the following aircraft:[4][5]

Air Transat fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total Ref
Airbus A320-200 1 180 180 [41]
Airbus A321-200 8 2 196 198 [42] Domestic configuration[43]
199 199 International configuration
Airbus A321LR 15 4 12 187 199 [44] Deliveries since 2019.[45][46][47]
Airbus A321XLR 3 TBA Order with one option.[48]
Deliveries to begin in 2025.
Airbus A330-200 11 12 320 332 [49]
333 345
Airbus A330-300 2 12 334 346 [50]
351 363
Total 37 7

Previously operated edit

Air Transat has operated several other aircraft types in the past, including:[51]

Air Transat historical fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A310-300 14 2000 2020
Airbus A320-200 2 2003 2004 Leased from Star Airlines
4 2018 2019 Leased from Condor
Boeing 727-200 2 1991 1994
Boeing 737-400 2 1999 2000 Leased from Virgin Express
Boeing 737-700 4 2017 2019 Leased from ASL Airlines France
Boeing 737-800 29 2014 2020
Boeing 757-200 9 1992 2004
Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar 16 1989 2004
Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar 6 1997 2004
Beoing 737 MAX 5 2023 Leased from SmartLynx Airlines

Accidents and incidents edit

  • On 6 July 2001, Air Transat Flight 906, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, made a return to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport after encountering severe hail. The plane returned safely, but was written off. It is still used today for emergency training at Lyon Airport near Lufthansa Cargo.[52]
  • On 24 August 2001, Air Transat Flight 236, an Airbus A330-200, en route from Toronto to Lisbon with 306 crew and passengers, piloted by Captain Robert Piche and First Officer Dirk DeJager, made an emergency landing in the Azores without engine power due to fuel starvation over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft safely landed at Lajes Air Base, on Terceira Island. The aircraft was evacuated in 90 seconds. All 306 passengers on board survived. An investigation revealed that the cause of the accident was a fuel leak in the number-two engine, which was caused by an incorrect part installed in the hydraulics system by Air Transat maintenance staff. The part did not maintain adequate clearance between the hydraulic lines and the fuel line, allowing vibration in the hydraulic lines to degrade the fuel line and cause the leak. The aircraft involved in the incident was repaired and remained in service with Air Transat until March 2020. The incident went down in history as the longest non-powered flight and landing by a commercial airliner.[53]
  • On 6 March 2005, Air Transat Flight 961 experienced a structural failure in which the rudder detached in flight. The flight crew were able to regain enough control of the aircraft to return safely to Varadero. The investigation that followed determined that the manufacturer's inspection procedure for the composite rudder was not adequate.[54] Inspection procedures for composite structures on airliners were changed because of this accident.
  • On 18 July 2016, Air Transat Flight 725, an Airbus A310-300, en route from Glasgow to Toronto with 250 passengers, was grounded overnight following the arrest of pilots Captain Jean-François Perreault and Imran Zafar Syed for allegedly preparing to fly under the influence of alcohol. The flight eventually flew under new crew and arrived in Toronto at noon the following day.[55] Both pilots were cleared of all charges in April 2018.[56]
  • On 31 July 2017, Air Transat Flight 157, an Airbus A330-200, en route from Brussels to Montréal–Trudeau, was diverted to Ottawa due to a chain of storms passing through the Montreal area. More than 300 passengers were kept on the plane without water, electricity, or air conditioning and rationed food for 6 hours. A passenger called 9-1-1 due to the deteriorating situation, with some passengers complaining of suffocation. Airport authorities responded by delivering water and disembarking passengers, including those complaining of suffocation injuries. Air Transat blamed congestion at Ottawa's airport for the situation, where airport administration stated that the pilots asked for no help during the situation.[57] The event enraged Canadian lawmakers pushing to improve Canada's passenger bill of rights.[58]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "ICAO Designators for Canadian Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services" (PDF). Nav Canada. 4 May 2023. p. 1. Retrieved 24 February 2023. Air Transat: TSC, AIR TRANSAT
  2. ^ Transport Canada (30 August 2019), Civil Aviation Services (CAS) AOC.
  3. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Air Transat". Transport Canada. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  5. ^ a b "Our fleet". Air Transat.
  6. ^ "Air Transat on ch-aviation". ch-aviation. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Corporate Governance". Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  8. ^ a b "Transat A.T. Inc. - Results for fourth quarter 2019".
  9. ^ Vowles, Timothy M.; Lück, Michael (2016). "Low Cost Carriers in the USA and Canada". In Gross, Sven; Lück, Michael (eds.). The Low Cost Carrier Worldwide. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781317025054.
  10. ^ "Contact Us." Air Transat. Retrieved on 20 May 2009. "Postal address: Air Transat 5959 Côte-Vertu Blvd. Montreal, Quebec H4S 2E6 Canada"
  11. ^ "About Air Transat".
  12. ^ "Quebec election: François Legault is a pragmatist at heart". 22 September 2018.
  13. ^ "The Quebec Election: A Primer  – Policy Magazine". 15 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Transat A.T. Inc. - Transat and CanJet forge 5-year partnership for narrow-body aircraft". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Air Transat Named World's Best Leisure Airline in 2012". Air Transat. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Transavia France inks 737-800 deal with Air Transat". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  17. ^ The Associated Press (21 December 2015). "Canada aims to double intake of Syrian refugees to 50,000: McCallum". Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  18. ^ Westoll, Nick (20 December 2015). "Canada may double refugee intake by end of 2016: McCallum". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Flight TS8500 has now left Amman for Toronto". Transat. Transat A.T. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Air Transat head office named one of the greenest in NA". Air Transat. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2023.
  21. ^ "The 'Mexican game': How Air Transat misled passengers and aviation officials". CBC News. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Forbes Canada's Best Employers: Air Transat climbs to 8th place nationally and 3rd in Quebec".
  23. ^ "Air Canada in exclusive talks to buy Air Transat". CBC News. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019. The exclusivity agreement also states that if Transat walks away from the deal for a better offer, it would pay Air Canada a $15 million break fee. In the event the agreement is terminated because regulatory or governmental approvals are not obtained, Air Canada would pay Transat a $40 million break fee.
  24. ^ "Air Canada to buy Transat in deal valued at $520M". CTV News. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019. Letko, Brosseau and Associates and PenderFund Capital Management, which jointly own a 22.06 per cent stake, have said they would vote against the agreement if the purchase price remained at $13 per share.
  25. ^ "Transat agrees to Air Canada's $13-a-share takeover offer, despite other bids". CBC News. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019. Shareholders will have to weigh in and regulatory agencies will have a say, as the move would consolidate Canada's airline industry in even fewer hands.
  26. ^ Lampert, Allison (27 June 2019). "Transat accepts Air Canada's $520 million buyout offer". Financial Post. Retrieved 28 June 2019. The deal, which would keep Transat's head office and key functions in Montreal, is expected to be completed early next year, subject to regulatory approval.
  27. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (12 August 2019). "Air Canada substantially hikes price for Air Transat". Flightglobal.
  28. ^ Risen, Tom (23 August 2019). "Transat shareholders approve Air Canada buyout". Flightglobal.
  29. ^ Taylor, Ellis (27 August 2019). "Air Canada Transat takeover unlikely to close in early 2020". Flightglobal.
  30. ^ a b Codère, Jean-François (23 July 2020). "Transat renaît… modestement" [Transat is reborn... modestly]. La Presse (in French). Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  31. ^ Evans, Pete (13 October 2020). "Air Canada agrees to still take over Air Transat, but for much lower price". CBC News. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  32. ^ Decloet, Derek and Chang, Greg (2 April 2021). "Air Canada Drops Transat Takeover After Battle With Europe". Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  33. ^ "Coronavirus (COVID-19)". Air Transat.
  34. ^ a b CAA review into airline refund practices during the Covid-19 pandemic (PDF) (Report). UK Civil Aviation Authority. July 2020. pp. 1, 5–6.
  35. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 27 March 2007. p. 67.
  36. ^ "Porter, Air Transat launch joint venture to gird against domestic competition". 28 November 2023.
  37. ^ "Air Transat to Codeshare with WestJet on Transatlantic Flights". 29 April 2022.
  38. ^ "Air Transat In-Flight Magazine Atmosphere". The Duane Storey. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  39. ^ a b c "Something new in the sky: Atmosphere magazine launched on Air Transat". Air Transat. Montreal. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  40. ^ "New edition of Atmosphere magazine now on board Air Transat flights". Air Transat. 2 June 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  41. ^ "Airbus A320-200". Air Transat. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  42. ^ "Airbus A321-200 (A321ceo)". Air Transat. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  43. ^ "Canada's Air Transat adds six A321s, ends B737-700 ops". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  44. ^ "Airbus A321neoLR". Air Transat. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  45. ^ "Air Transat signs an agreement to lease 10 new Airbus A321neo LRs" (Press release). Air Transat. 11 July 2017.
  46. ^ "Changes to Air Transat's fleet - Carrier signs agreement to lease seven new Airbus A321neos" (Press release). Air Transat. 27 June 2018.
  47. ^ "Canada's Air Transat to debut A321neo(LR) ops in 2Q19". Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  48. ^ "Air Lease Corporation announces lease placement of four new Airbus A321XLR aircraft with Air Transat" (Press release). Air Transat. 8 September 2022.
  49. ^ "Airbus A330-200". Air Transat. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  50. ^ "Airbus A330-300". Air Transat. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  51. ^ "Air Transat Fleet". Retrieved 21 July 2023.
  52. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed L-1011-385-1-14 TriStar 150 C-FTNA Lyon".
  53. ^ A330 'glider' drama facts revealed. Flight International, 26 October 2004. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  54. ^ "Aviation Investigation Report A05F0047, Loss of Rudder in Flight, Air Transat Airbus A310-308 C-GPAT, Miami, Florida, 90 nm S, 06 March 2005" (PDF). Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). 22 November 2007. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  55. ^ Lupton, Andrew; Nazareth, Errol (19 July 2016). "2 Air Transat pilots charged with being impaired before Glasgow to Toronto flight". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  56. ^ "'Alcohol' pilots cleared after evidence blunder". BBC News. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  57. ^ Nease, Kristy (1 August 2017). "'You can't do this to us': Fuming passengers stuck on planes in Ottawa call 911". CBC News. Retrieved 27 January 2024.
  58. ^ Zimonjic, Peter (1 August 2017). "After Air Transat saga, passenger bill of rights aims to punish airlines into being good". CBC News. Retrieved 27 January 2024.

External links edit

  Media related to Air Transat at Wikimedia Commons