Air Transat To Launch Several New Routes To The US

Canadian leisure airline Air Transat has just released their winter 2019/2020 schedule, which includes several new routes to the US.

Air Transat to offer new routes to the US this winter. Photo:Air Transat

Starting in November 2019, the Quebec based carrier will become the only airline offering a direct flight between Montreal and New Orleans, Louisiana.

From the west coast of Canada, Air Transat will become the only airline to offer a non-stop twice-weekly service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Air Transat is apparently ramping up its operations to the Sunshine State, offering daily flights between Montreal and Fort Lauderdale during the winter. Five flights per week will also be added from Quebec City according to a recent press release from the airline.

Why New Orleans?

Fort Lauderdale and South Florida have always been a big market during the cold winter months for snowbirds looking to cut down on their heating bills at home.

Florida is a top destination for Canadians in winter: Photo: Air Transat

For younger people, Florida offers warm, tropical weather and a welcome escape from the freezing temperatures north of the 48. In essence, it’s something of a no-brainer for a Canadian leisure airline to add flights during the winter.

With its unique French culture, New Orleans appeals to Quebec’s French-speaking population more than any other city in the U.S.A. Known as the birthplace of Jazz and famous for its Cajun and Creole cooking, New Orleans is a city full of surprises. And let’s not forget Mardi Gras! Where better to go and let your hair down after being cooped inside all winter than the bars and music halls on Bourbon Street.

Starting November 3rd, 2019, Air Transat will offer two flights per week on Thursdays and Sundays from Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

While no information as to what aircraft Air Transat will be flying on their new routes, Chief Operating Officer of Air Transat, Annick Guérard hinted at the possibility of it being the Montreal based airlines new Airbus A321neoLRs, saying in a press release,

“Bringing our Airbus A321neoLRs into our fleet in winter 2019–2020 will give us greater flexibility, which will help us reinforce our leadership in Quebec, strengthen our presence in Ontario and return in force in the Canadian West. We will, therefore, be adding new destinations out of Vancouver, including Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica,”

But isn’t Air Transat being sold?

Yes, that’s right. The airline is currently in talks with Air Canada over a possible merger following WestJet’s sale to Toronto based private equity firm Onyx.

Both Air Canada and Groupe Mach want to buy Air Transat.Photo: Air Transat

Currently, the two Quebec based airlines are involved in a 30-day period of exclusive negotiations to see if they can agree to a deal. Air Canada sees Air Transat as a way to not only expand domestically, but as a way to expand the national carrier’s holiday travel business.

While everything seemed sweet and a deal most likely in the cards, Montreal property developer Groupe Mach threw a spanner in the works by offering Air Transat $1.00 per share more than Air Canada.

Time will tell whether or not Air Transat will be involved in a bidding war, but no matter the eventual outcome will be, both suitors want to keep the airline running just as it is now.