Air Transat flight TS765 from Porto, Portugal, touched down at Toronto Pearson Airport on Monday morning. The Airbus A310 carried Canadian citizens that had been stranded in Europe due to travel restrictions, on what was to be its last passenger flight before retirement.
Bowing out early but in style
The Air Transat A310 fleet had an average age of 29 years old, with some planes having been part of the airline’s fleet since 1999. Before that, they had served with a variety of carriers throughout the world. The recent unprecedented reductions to airline schedules are allowing airlines to retire older aircraft earlier than planned. This particular A310 got to bow out by returning from a special transatlantic mission.
Air Transat’s Airbus A310s had already been scheduled to finalize their service for the airline, with a last flight scheduled on the 27th of April from Quebec to Paris and back again. Due to the large (to say the least) number of flight cancellations and schedule reductions, Transat has decided to retire its fleet of A310s early.
Instead of the scheduled Quebec City to Paris return trip that was initially planned for the aforementioned date, the last transatlantic run saw the plane make the journey from Porto to Toronto via Halifax, repatriating stranded Canadians.
PHOTOS “Toronto tower, good day, for the last time, Air Transat 765 heavy cleared ILS 23”
Air Transat #TS765 arrived in Toronto from Portugal, via Halifax. Repatriation flight. This is the last passanger flight for this aircraft. They are retiring their Airbus A310 fleet. C-GSAT pic.twitter.com/KvA6TLVFPj
— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) March 30, 2020
Air Transat busy with repatriation
Air Transat has been actively flying repatriation flights to bring Canadians home from abroad. The Porto to Toronto flight was not the only rescue mission arriving on Canadian soil on Monday. Flight TS8706 also touched down at Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport from La Aurora Aiport, serving Guatemala City. This flight was operated by an Airbus A330.
Air Transat has operated several other rescue flights like these, and more are yet to come. They have flown Canadians from El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, and are now adding more special flights from these locations, as well as Haiti and Honduras, to the schedule. Any Canadian resident wishing to get on one of these flights should register with the Canadian Foreign Office.
A321LR taking over
Many airlines are retiring older aircraft earlier than planned as a result of the massive reductions in schedules. In many cases, they were maintaining aging aircraft in service to make up for the void that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX left in fleet capacity. Air Transat does not own any MAXs. Their only Boeing planes are 737-800s, of which the airline owns eight.
Air Transat is replacing its aging A310 fleet with more modern A321neoLR aircraft. It has taken delivery of three so far and is set to receive another 13. All of Air Transat’s aircraft of this type will be leased from AerCap. It plans to use its new planes from Montreal to London and Copenhagen, as well as to destinations in France and Portugal.
When was the last time you flew on an Airbus A310? Let us know in the comments!