|Commenced operations||November 14, 1987|
|AOC #||Canada: 5311|
United States: ATFF123F
|Parent company||Transat A.T. Inc.|
|Headquarters||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Revenue||CAN$2.9 billion (2019)|
|Net income||(CAN$9.4) million (2019)|
|Total assets||CAN$1.5 billion (2015)|
Air Transat is a Canadian airline based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1986, it is the country's third-largest airline, operating scheduled and charter flights, serving 60 destinations in 25 countries. Air Transat is owned and operated by Transat A.T. Inc., having a fleet of 44 aircraft.
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.
Air Transat made its inaugural flight on November 14, 1987, travelling from Montreal to Acapulco. Six years later, Air Transat assumed defunct Nationair's maintenance base and aircraft. Today, the company books over 3.5 million passengers a year. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transat A.T. Inc.
Air Transat is now one of Canada's largest airlines, after Air Canada and WestJet. Air Transat has 5,000 employees. On February 13, 2011, Air Transat Flight TS163 operated with their 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.
On February 13, 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.
Developments since 2010
On September 13, 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, calls 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.
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. While it was unlikely that Air Transat would be the exclusive airline chartered by the Canadian government, especially if more than 35,000 refugees would arrive in 2016 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. In a Transat press release, Jean-François Lemay, the carrier's general manager made the following 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."
In May 2017, Air Transat and Flair Air were accused by a CBC News story of misleading customers and regulators in both 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.
In January 2020, Forbes Canada named Air Transat in its list of Best Employers, to 8th place nationally.
Selling the airline to Air Canada
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, proposed purchase at C$14.
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 sale of Transat AT. A May report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation stated that "regulatory approvals are no sure thing". If the Air Canada purchase is concluded, Air Transat would continue to operate as separate brand.
By mid August, Air Canada increased its offer by nearly 40% to C$18 per share from C$13, valuing the acquisition at C$720 million ($544 million in American Dollars), to obtain backing from Letko Brosseau, Transat AT's largest shareholder with 19% of the company. On 23 August, a 95% majority of Transat's voting shareholders approved the Air Canada proposal at C$18 ($13.53) per share, after the Quebec Administrative Court of Financial Markets rejected the rival bid from Groupe Mach on 12 August. The proposed transaction should be publicly assessed by Transport Canada until 2 May 2020, before the buyout closes.
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. The airline also has operations at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport among others.
|Airbus A321LR||6||9||12||187||199||Deliveries since 2019.|
|Airbus A321neo||—||2||TBA||Deliveries from 2020.|
Air Transat has operated several other aircraft types in the past including the following:
- Airbus A310-300
- Airbus A320-200
- Boeing 727-200
- Boeing 737-400
- Boeing 737-700
- Boeing 757-200
- Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar
- Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar
Accidents and incidents
- On July 6, 2001, Air Transat Flight 906, an 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.
- On August 24, 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 de Jager, 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 remains in service with Air Transat. The incident went down in history as the longest non-powered flight and landing by a commercial airliner.
- On March 6, 2005, Air Transat Flight 961, an Airbus A310-300, en route from Varadero to Québec City with 9 crew and 261 passengers on board, experienced a structural failure in which the rudder detached in flight. The crew returned to Cuba, where they made a safe landing. It has been established that no unusual rudder inputs had been used by the crew during the flight, they were not manipulating the rudder when it failed and there was no obvious fault in the rudder or yaw-damper system. The investigation that followed determined that the manufacturer's inspection procedure for the composite rudder was not adequate. Inspection procedures for composite structures on airliners were changed because of this incident.
- On July 18, 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. Both pilots were charged with threatening or abusive behaviour and performing an aviation function while over the legal alcohol limit. Perreault and Syed made no pleas or declarations during their initial hearing on July 19, 2016. Both pilots were suspended from active duty by Air Transat on July 22, 2016.
- On July 31, 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 911 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 six-hour situation. The event enraged Canadian lawmakers pushing to improve Canada's passenger bill of rights.
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- "Transavia France inks 737-800 deal with Air Transat". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- 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.
- Westoll, Nick (20 December 2015). "Canada may double refugee intake by end of 2016: McCallum". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
- "Flight TS8500 has now left Amman for Toronto". Transat. Transat A.T. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
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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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "Transat accepts Air Canada's $520-million buyout offer". Financial Post. 27 June 2019. 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.
- David Kaminski-Morrow (12 Aug 2019). "Air Canada substantially hikes price for Air Transat". Flightglobal.
- Tom Risen (23 Aug 2019). "Transat shareholders approve Air Canada buyout". Flightglobal.
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- Airbus A321-200
- "Canada's Air Transat adds six A321s, ends B737-700 ops". ch-aviation.com. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- "Canada's Air Transat to debut A321neo(LR) ops in 2Q19". ch-aviation.com. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- Airbus A321neoLR
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- "Air Transat signs agreement to lease seven new Airbus A321neos". 27 June 2018.
- "Airbus A330-200". Air Transat. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
- Airbus A330-300
- Boeing 737-800
- Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: History Search Result
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- Weakest points. Flight International, 19 July 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
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- "After Air Transat saga, passenger bill of rights aims to punish airlines into being good". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
Media related to Air Transat at Wikimedia Commons