Canada’s Air Transat Sets July 23rd Date For Flight Resumption

Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat has today announced that it plans to resume flights and tour operations from July 23rd. The airline grounded its fleet earlier this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, it will resume flights to 23 international destinations over the summer months as well as maintaining a domestic network. The announcement also outlined its health and safety procedure to ensure passenger safety.

Air transat A330
Air Transat will resume operation in July with several international destinations to Europe. Photo: Air Transat

A new flight schedule

Air Transat, which is in the process of being acquired by Air Canada, suspended all operations at the start of April. The grounding caused the airline to post a $179.5 million loss for the first quarter of the year. But now, the carrier is looking to get back in the skies.

In a press release, the airline confirmed it “gradually operate a flight schedule with 23 international routes to Europe, the South and the United States, in addition to a domestic flight schedule between major Canadian cities”. Package holidays to Europe and South America will also be available with travel agencies opening from June 15th.

For passengers flying from Montreal where the carrier is based, the available destinations will be; Athens in Greece and the French cities of Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes, Marseille, Paris, and Toulouse, and a flight to Lisbon. From Toronto, there will be flights to Athens, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Porto, and Rome.

Both Montreal and Toronto will also offer flights to Cayo Coco in Cuba, Cancun in Mexico, Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The domestic network will fly between the two hub cities as well as Calgary and Vancouver.

Canada’s Air Transat Sets July 23rd Date For Flight Resumption
Air Transat will give each passenger a small care kit board flights to encourage cleanliness. Photo: Air Transat

Health and safety

Transat also announced its new passenger safety program today, which is called Traveller Care. The program is based on government recommendations and will help passengers at every stage of their journey.

For anyone looking to book in one of the associated travel agencies, there will be Plexiglas dividers and social distancing measures to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

The airline will enforce social distancing at the airport and onboard. Passengers should also be prepared to answer health-related questions on the day of travel.

Onboard care kit

Passengers will also receive a small care kit on board. This will contain disinfectant, gloves, face masks, and hand sanitizer. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters will change cabin air every three minutes to minimize the number of bacteria circulating in the plane. The cabin crew will also have to wear a face mask while flying.

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Air Canada is currently acquiring Air Transat. However, the European Commission is concerned about competition rules being breached. Photo: Air Canada

Air Transat is also committing to help passengers on their tour holidays while abroad. The airline is using a hotline and a phone app to allow travelers to seek updated government advice and ask questions during their holidays. The aim of reassuring passengers is clearly in an attempt to encourage more passengers to travel rather than stay home.

Transat’s finances

Like many in the aviation industry, Transat is hoping to resume flying as soon as possible to make up for lost revenues. However, Air Transat was making a loss before the virus outbreak. It reported a loss of $179.5 million for the first quarter of 2020. In 2019 it reported a loss of $939,000 for the same period. For the second quarter of this year, it lost $571 million compared to $897.4 million in 2019.

The carrier is currently in the process of being bought out by Air Canada for $720 million. Shareholders have approved the deal, but the European Commission launched an investigation into the deal last month over concerns regarding competition rules.