Air Transat’s Manchester flights to resume earlier than planned

From TravelWeek – link to source story

Air Transat’s Manchester flights to resume earlier than planned

Date: Sep 14 2021

By: Travelweek Group

MONTREAL — Air Transat is resuming operations to Manchester, England earlier than originally planned in anticipation of significant passenger demand for the United Kingdom.

Following eased travel restrictions in the U.K., with Canada now on its green list of approved countries, the airline will start offering direct flights to Manchester from Toronto on Oct. 19.

Air Transat is also resuming direct flights between London Gatwick and Toronto on Sept. 15 after months of inactivity. Flights will initially operate three times weekly between the two hubs and will gradually increase over the coming months.

Direct flights from Glasgow to Toronto are also scheduled to resume on Dec. 16.

Air Transat previously announced that it will fly to nearly 50 destinations as part of its winter 2021/2022 flight program. It previously celebrated its return to the skies on July 30, following a six-month pause in operations due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Transat A.T. Inc. – Results for third quarter of 2021

For the third quarter:

  • Revenues of $12.5 million
  • Adjusted operating loss1 of $50.9 million (operating loss of $98.4 million)
  • Adjusted net loss1 of $115.6 million (net loss attributable to shareholders of $138.1 million)

Financial position and financing:

  • Cash and cash equivalents of $429.4 million as at July 31
  • In total, the available financing represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn as at July 31, 2021

Resumption of operations:

  • Partial resumption of airline operations since July 30, 2021

MONTRÉAL, Sept. 9, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Transat A.T. Inc., one of the largest integrated tourism companies in the world and Canada’s holiday travel leader, announces its results for the third quarter ended July 31, 2021.

“We’re very pleased we were able to resume operations as scheduled on July 30 and move into the restart phase where our activities can gradually expand, and particularly as we look forward to a winter season that promises to be much busier than the last one. While we must continue to exercise caution given the evolving health situation, and although a full return to normal is still some time away, we’re very keen to get the crisis behind us,” stated Annick Guérard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat.

“Beyond resuming our operating activities, gradually recalling our employees and delivering training, we’ll be using this period to implement our strategic plan. We’ve announced two new destinations in the United States for the winter, we’re working on optimizing our capital structure, and we’re engaging in a number of discussions towards entering into airline partnership agreements. Our ambitions are high, but we’re on the right track,” Mrs. Guérard added.

The global air transportation and tourism industry has faced a collapse in traffic and demand. Travel restrictions, uncertainty about when borders will reopen fully, both in Canada and at certain destinations the Corporation flies to, the imposition of quarantine measures and vaccination and testing requirements both in Canada and other countries, as well as concerns related to the pandemic and its economic impacts are creating significant demand uncertainty, at least for fiscal 2021. For the first half of winter 2021, the Corporation rolled out a reduced winter program. On January 29, 2021, following the Canadian government’s request to not travel to Mexico and the Caribbean, and the introduction of new quarantine measures and COVID-19 testing requirements, the Corporation announced the complete suspension of all its regular flights and the repatriation of its clients to Canada. Starting July 30, 2021, the Corporation partially resumed its operations and gradually rolled out a reduced summer program. The Corporation cannot predict all the impacts of COVID-19 on its operations and results, or precisely when the situation will improve. The Corporation has implemented a series of operational, commercial and financial measures, including new financing and cost reduction measures, aimed at preserving its cash. The Corporation is monitoring the situation daily to adjust these measures as it evolves. However, until the Corporation is able to resume operations at a sufficient level, the COVID-19 pandemic will have significant negative impacts on its revenues, cash flows from operations and operating results. While progress on vaccination and the lifting of certain restrictions have made it possible to resume operations at a certain level during 2021, the Corporation does not expect such level to reach the pre-pandemic level before 2023.

Preserving cash is a priority for the Corporation; with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporation has taken the actions discussed in the Overview section of the MD&A included in our 2020 Annual Report. Other opportunities are being evaluated to achieve this objective and the following additional actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were taken during the nine-month period ended July 31, 2021:

  • The Corporation completed its efforts to obtain long-term financing. As described in the Financing section of the MD&A, the available financing therefore represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn as at July 31, 2021. Of the drawn down amount, a total of $265.1 million was used to repay travellers who were scheduled to leave after February 1, 2020, for which a travel credit had been issued due to COVID-19 and who had requested to be reimbursed.
  • During the quarter ended January 31, 2021, two Airbus A330s and one Boeing 737-800 were returned to lessors early. These are in addition to the three Boeing 737-800s and one Airbus A330 that were returned in advance to their lessors during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020.
  • The Corporation continuously adjusts its flight program as the situation evolves. Since the resumption of its airline operations on July 30, 2021, Transat offers once again a reduced program of international flights departing from Montréal and Toronto that it intends to enhance gradually.
  • The Corporation is negotiating with its suppliers, including aircraft lessors to benefit from cost reductions and changes in payment terms, and is continuing to implement measures to reduce expenses and investments.
  • The Corporation is continuing to make use of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy [“CEWS”] for its Canadian workforce, which enables it to finance part of the salaries of its staff still at work and, until August 28, 2021, to offer employees on temporary layoff to receive a portion of their salary equivalent to the amount of the grant received, with no work required.
  • As at July 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents totalled $429.4 million.

Third-quarter highlights

Since mid-March of 2020, restrictions on international travel and government-imposed quarantine measures have made travel sales very difficult. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporation suspended its airline operations on January 29, 2021 for the second time since March 2020, until their partial resumption on July 30, 2021. These factors caused the fall in revenues. The Corporation recognized revenues of $12.5 million during the quarter, an increase of $3.0 million or 31.4% compared with 2020. In 2021, revenues were mainly driven by the activities of the Corporation’s incoming tour operator in sun destinations.

Operations generated an operating loss of $98.4 million compared with $132.0 million in 2020, an improvement of $33.6 million. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss1 of $50.9 million compared with $79.9 million in 2020, an improvement of $29.0 million. The decreases in operating loss and adjusted operating loss1 were due to the unfavourable settlement of fuel derivative contracts in the third quarter of 2020.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $138.1 million or $3.66 per share (diluted) compared with $45.1 million or $1.20 per share (diluted) for the corresponding quarter of last year. In 2020, the net loss attributable to shareholders was mitigated by a gain in the fair value of fuel-related derivatives and other derivatives of $67.7 million, related to the significant recovery of fuel prices during the quarter. The deterioration of the net loss attributable to shareholders was also accentuated by the $15.9 million foreign exchange loss recorded in the third quarter of 2021, mainly due to the unfavourable exchange effect on lease liabilities related to aircraft, following the weakening of the dollar against the U.S. dollar. During the third quarter of 2020, the Corporation recognized a $28.5 million foreign exchange gain, resulting mainly from the favourable exchange effect on lease liabilities related to aircraft. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss1 of $115.6 million or $3.06 per share for the third quarter of 2021, compared with $139.8 million or $3.70 per share in 2020.

Nine-month period highlights

As a result of the above-mentioned factors, the Corporation recorded a decrease in its results for the nine-month period ended July 31. Moreover, for the first half of winter 2021, demand was very weak and the Corporation’s capacity represented a fraction of the 2020 level. For the nine-month period as a whole, the Corporation recognized revenues of $62.0 million, a decrease of $1.2 billion or 95.1% compared with 2020, and operations generated an operating loss of $282.9 million, compared with $186.6 million in 2020, a deterioration of $96.3 million. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss1 of $155.5 million compared with $31.4 million in 2020, a deterioration of $124.1 million.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $268.2 million or $7.11 per share (diluted) compared with $258.5 million or $6.85 per share (diluted) for the corresponding nine-month period of last year. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss1 of $328.0 million or $8.69 per share for the nine-month period ended July 31, 2021, compared with $198.9 million or $5.27 per share in 2020.

Financial position

As at July 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents amounted to $429.4 million, compared with $576.4 million on the same date in 2020. This decrease was mainly attributable to a significant decrease in business and to refunds of travel credits, partially offset by drawdowns on the credit facilities.

In total, the available financing represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn down as at July 31, 2021. Of the drawn down amount, a total of $265.1 million was used to repay travellers who were scheduled to leave after February 1, 2020, for which a travel credit had been issued due to COVID-19 and who had requested to be reimbursed.

Deposits from customers for future travel amounted to $262.8 million, compared with $638.1 million as at July 31, 2020, a decrease of $375.3 million. This change was due to refunds of travel credits made during the third quarter of 2021.

The working capital ratio was 1.27, compared with 0.93 as at July 31, 2020. The improvement in working capital resulted from the travel credits refunded during the period and financed partly by the drawdowns on the unsecured credit facility to refund travellers and drawdowns on credit facilities.

Customer deposits as at July 31, 2021 included these travel credits issued for cancelled trips related to COVID-19 amounting to $159.3 million, compared with $504.6 million as at April 30, 2021. On April 29, 2021, the Corporation entered into an agreement with the Government of Canada that also allows it to borrow an amount of $310.0 million to issue refunds to certain travellers. Following this agreement, at the end of August 2021, the Corporation had received requests for about 80% of the amount of credits issued and made refunds for more than 90% of amounts claimed. Customers had until August 26, 2021 to submit their refund requests.

Off-balance-sheet agreements, excluding contracts with service providers, stood at $544.5 million as at July 31, 2021. This amount mainly consists in commitments to take delivery of the seven A321neoLRs undelivered as at that date.

Outlook

The current situation shows encouraging signs such as the level of bookings observed and the increase in the vaccination rate. However, it remains impossible for the moment to predict the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future bookings, the partial resumption of flight operations and financial results.

The Corporation has implemented a series of operational, commercial and financial measures, including cost reduction, aimed at preserving its cash. The Corporation continues to monitor the situation daily to adjust these measures as it evolves. Please see the Risks and Uncertainties section of the Corporation’s MD&A for the year ended October 31, 2020 for a more detailed discussion of the main risks and uncertainties facing the Corporation.

Consequently, for now the Corporation is not providing an outlook for summer 2021 or winter 2022.

Changes in leadership

On May 26, 2021, the Corporation announced the implementation of the succession plan for Jean-Marc Eustache, who retired. Annick Guérard was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer effective May 27, 2021. Ms. Guérard served as Chief Operating Officer since November 2017.

Mr. Eustache also stepped down from his role on the Board of Directors. Raymond Bachand, Lead Director, took  over as Chair of the Board and Ms. Guérard joined the Board of Directors. These changes were effective May 27, 2021.

On May 31, 2021, Daniel Godbout, Senior Vice-President and Advisor to the President, asserted his retirement rights. Mr. Godbout will not be replaced in his functions.

On June 23, 2021, the Corporation also announced the departure of Denis Pétrin, Vice-President, Finance and Administration, and Chief Financial Officer, who left his functions on July 9 and was temporarily replaced by Jacques Simoneau, member of the Board of Directors of Transat, who will serve in an interim role until the recruitment process for Mr. Pétrin’s successor is completed.

Following the announcement of the discontinuation of the hotel activity, the employment contract of Jordi Solé, President of the hotel division, was terminated on August 31, 2021.

On November 9, 2018, the Corporation had announced the departure of Jean-François Lemay, President of Air Transat, when the Corporation would find him a successor. Given the circumstances related to the proposed transaction with Air Canada, then to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Lemay and the Corporation had agreed to postpone the planned departure. Mr. Lemay’s departure was subsequently postponed until July 31, 2022, in order to identify and put in place his successor and ensure a smooth transition.

In addition, two new members have joined the Corporation’s management committee: Michèle Barre, Vice-President, Network, Revenue Management and Pricing, and Joseph Adamo, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.

About Transat

Founded in Montreal 35 years ago, Transat has grown to become a holiday travel reference worldwide, particularly as an air carrier under the Air Transat brand. Voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, it flies to international and Canadian destinations, striving to serve its customers with enthusiasm and friendliness at every stage of their trip or stay, and emphasizing safety throughout. Transat has been Travelife-certified since 2018, renewing its fleet with the greenest aircraft in their category as part of a commitment to a healthier environment, knowing that this is essential to the integrity of its operations and the magnificent destinations it serves.(TSX: TRZ).

Air France’s Intriguing New Guadeloupe Routes

From One Mile at a Time – link to full source story – Thanks to ML

Air France is adding a couple of cool new routes this winter, which I’d sure love to fly as an avgeek.

In this post:

Air France adds Pointe-à-Pitre to New York & Montreal flights

This winter, Air France will be adding two new North America routes out of the Caribbean. Specifically:

  • As of November 23, 2021, Air France will fly twice weekly between Pointe-à-Pitre (PTP), Guadeloupe, and Montreal (YUL); the 2,133-mile flight will operate northbound on Tuesdays and Fridays, and southbound on Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • As of November 24, 2021, Air France will fly twice weekly between Pointe-à-Pitre (PTP), Guadeloupe, and New York (JFK); the 1,832-mile flight will operate northbound on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and southbound on Thursdays and Sundays
Air France’s new Guadeloupe routes

Both of these routes will be operated by Air France’s Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 168 seats. Air France has a subfleet of A320s based in the Caribbean, which feature the typical intra-Europe product, meaning that business class is simply economy with a blocked middle and improved service.

These flights are not yet bookable, but the routes should go on sale soon.

As far as competition on these routes goes:

  • Both Air Canada and Air Transat intend to fly between Montreal and Guadeloupe this winter
  • JetBlue intends to fly between New York and Guadeloupe this winter

So Air France will be facing some competition here. While Air France as such has great name recognition, people are unlikely to realize the airline would operate a route like this. Fortunately that’s an area where online travel agencies level the playing field.

more >>>

Air Transat inaugurates its first direct flight between Vancouver and Quebec City

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug. 2, 2021 /CNW/ – Air Transat celebrates the launch of its brand-new direct service between Vancouver and Quebec City, becoming the first and only airline to operate this route. Flights will be offered once a week, on Mondays from Vancouver and on Sundays from Quebec City, until October 25.

From left to right: Charles Thivierge – Captain; Linda Lancup – Flight Attendant; Marie-Josée Paiement – Flight Attendant; Mario Blais – Captain; Sonia Renaud – Flight Director; Ghislain Charette – Flight Attendant (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)
From left to right: Charles Thivierge – Captain; Linda Lancup – Flight Attendant; Marie-Josée Paiement – Flight Attendant; Mario Blais – Captain; Sonia Renaud – Flight Director; Ghislain Charette – Flight Attendant (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

“It was only natural for us to add this route to our summer schedule,” says Joseph Adamo, Transat’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “As we predicted, travellers are showing a strong interest in domestic destinations, so we are pleased to offer them this new route linking two of Canada’s most important tourist hubs.”

This morning, to mark the inauguration of this new route, the 163 passengers of the very first TS969 flight from Vancouver were welcomed in a festive manner at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR). This comes a day after 185 passengers boarded the inaugural TS968 flight from Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB).

“We are thrilled to welcome Air Transat back to Canada’s skies with its new service connecting YVR to beautiful Quebec City,” says Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancouver International Airport. “The addition of this seasonal flight provides travellers with more options when flying domestically from YVR and is a strong signal of confidence from Air Transat as it rejoins Canada’s airlines in the effort to reopen travel and tourism across the country, safely and in a measured approach. At YVR, we are ready to welcome back all passengers to the airport and are committed to delivering a safe and seamless experience to our passengers who, thanks to Air Transat, now have another great destination to visit direct from Vancouver.”

“Now that we can start travelling again, Air Transat is inviting people from Quebec City to discover Western Canada starting this summer,” says Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Quebec City’s Jean Lesage International Airport. “The addition of flights to Vancouver meets a demand expressed by the population for many years and is aligned with our objective to improve air service from Quebec City. We welcome Air Transat’s confidence in our market. We hope that passengers will choose YQB as their departure point for their next trip.”

The route will be operated by next-generation Airbus A321neoLR aircraft, which feature spacious cabins and state-of-the-art in-seat entertainment systems and have the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (CO2 and NOx) emissions in their class.

This summer, from Vancouver, Air Transat will also offer direct flights to Montreal and Toronto. 

About Air Transat
Air Transat is a leading leisure travel brand established nearly 35 years ago that offers domestic and connecting flights within Canada as well as international flights to destinations of choice in the Americas and Europe. Air Transat and its personnel strive to serve travellers with enthusiasm and friendliness, emphasizing safety at all stages of their travel experience. The carrier’s multiple initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon emissions include operation of a fleet of new-generation Airbus aircraft and development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Air Transat has been voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tourism company headquartered in Montreal that was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its sustainability commitments. Visit airtransat.com or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd Travel and Leisure Company and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media

Air Transat resumes flights today

MONTREAL, July 30, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Transat is pleased to operate its first commercial flights today after six months of inactivity due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Three flights are scheduled today: Montreal-Punta Cana, Punta Cana-Montreal and Montreal-Vancouver. These flights kick off the airline’s summer program, which will include, at the height of the season, 24 routes to 16 destinations in Canada, the United States, the South and Europe.

Air Transat crew at Montreal airport today

“It is with great joy and excitement that we return to the skies after these long months of suspension,” says Annick Guérard, President and CEO of Transat. “We are thrilled to finally reunite with our travellers and allow them to reconnect with their favourite destinations through our world-renowned travel experience. In preparation for our return, our teams have been working hard to ensure the safety of travellers and facilitate their planning by continuously adjusting our Traveller Care health and safety program and our practical guide on travel requirements.”

A diversified summer program and a new domestic route

To meet the sustained demand from travellers wishing to uncover more of their Canada this summer, Air Transat offers an extensive program of domestic flights between Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver. This includes exclusive direct flights between Quebec City and Vancouver, a first for the airline.

This domestic program also allows Canadians to travel to more international destinations via connecting flights from Montreal, Toronto and Quebec City.

In addition, from Montreal, Air Transat will gradually operate direct flights to Cuba (Holguin and Varadero), the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana), France (Paris), Haiti (Port-au-Prince), Mexico (Cancun), Portugal (Lisbon) and the United States (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando).

Travellers from Toronto will be able to fly direct to Cuba (Holguin and Varadero), the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana), England (London), Mexico (Cancun), Portugal (Porto) and the United States (Fort Lauderdale and Orlando).

And from Quebec City, direct flights will be offered to the United States (Fort Lauderdale).

In addition, the company will also offer vacationers a selection of South packages, featuring 160 properties and four collections: LuxuryOut of OfficeFamily and Solo.

Depending on the evolution of travel restrictions, Air Transat may have to modify its flight schedule. Nevertheless, it would like to reassure travellers affected by major changes that they would be eligible for a refund.

Three more Airbus A321neoLR aircraft added to the fleet

Air Transat continues to transform its fleet with the delivery of three new Airbus A321neoLR, bringing the total number of these aircraft in its fleet to 10. Seven more are expected to be delivered progressively by 2023. It is worth reminding that these new generation aircraft have the lowest environmental impact in their class, reinforcing the company’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The addition of these aircraft enhances the airline’s world-class fleet, one of the most modern in the industry.

About Air Transat
Air Transat is a leading leisure travel brand established nearly 35 years ago that offers domestic and connecting flights within Canada as well as international flights to destinations of choice in the Americas and Europe. Air Transat and its personnel strive to serve travellers with enthusiasm and friendliness, emphasizing safety at all stages of their travel experience. The carrier’s multiple initiatives aimed at reducing its carbon emissions include operation of a fleet of new-generation Airbus aircraft and development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Air Transat has been voted World’s Best Leisure Airline by passengers at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tourism company headquartered in Montreal that was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its sustainability commitments. Visit airtransat.com or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd Travel and Leisure Company and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers List
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media

Canada’s Major Airlines Look Forward to Re-Opening of Border

Fully vaccinated Americans exempt from quarantine and can enter Canada as of August 9, all other fully vaccinated international travellers as of September 7

Ottawa, July 19, 2021 – Canada’s major airlines look forward to the re-opening of Canada’s border to fully vaccinated international travellers announced today by the federal government, but note that further action will be required to enable recovery of the sector.  

“As an industry, we have been calling on the government for months to provide a clear restart plan utilizing science-based measures.  Though we have almost lost the summer travel season, today’s announcement provides clarity and timeframes that will allow consumers to plan, and the travel and tourism sector to begin welcoming fully vaccinated foreign travellers once again”, said Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Canada’s largest carriers (Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet).  

Over the past several weeks carriers have issued updated schedules and have been investing in bringing capacity back on line, to enable a safe restart.  The industry will continue to work closely with the federal government over the coming weeks to ensure the successful implementation of the border changes. 

The government announced it will also be expanding the number of Canadian airports that can receive international flights, it will also be eliminating the hotel quarantine program for all travellers, as was recommended by Health Canada’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel in May.  The government will also no longer require non-vaccinated minors to formally quarantine.     

“We are certainly pleased to see firm dates for re-opening of our border for fully vaccinated travellers and elimination of hotel quarantine.  But as the new measures take effect, we still firmly believe the government must take further steps and follow the clear recommendations released by Health Canada’s Expert Panel report including lowering quarantine duration for non-vaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers.  We will be ready for August and September.  But further policy changes will ultimately be needed to support the successful re-start of the industry and the tens of thousands of aviation jobs that have been impacted by the pandemic”, concluded McNaney.      

About the National Airlines Council of Canada:

The National Airlines Council of Canada represents Canada’s largest national and international passenger air carriers:  Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation LP and WestJet.  It promotes safe, sustainable and competitive air travel by advocating for the development of policies, regulations and legislation to foster a world-class transportation system.  Pre-pandemic our members collectively carried over 80 million passengers annually, directly employed over 60,000 people and served as a critical component of Canada’s overall air transport and tourism sector, which supported more than 630,000 jobs.

Airline Updates Summary

From Travel Week – link to source story

Air Canada, WestJet, Transat, Sunwing and more: The latest updates amid the coronavirus pandemic

Air Canada, WestJet, Transat, Sunwing and more: The latest updates amid the coronavirus pandemic

As of 15 July 2021

By: Travelweek Group

TORONTO — Canada’s airlines took swift action amid border closures and travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s the latest from Canada’s airlines. This list is updated as we receive new information from each company. The latest information can always be found at the company’s website.

LATEST UPDATE: July 9, 2021 – Flair Airlines; July 6, 2021 – Porter Airlines


AIR CANADA

UPDATED JULY 6, 2021: Air Canada’s domestic schedule for summer 2021 includes 50 airports across Canada and 3 new routes. Air Canada has also announced details about its international schedule for summer 2021; click here for more details.


AIR NORTH

Air North, Yukon’s Airline is currently flying with a reduced schedule due to COVID and offering flights between Whitehorse and Vancouver, Kelowna, and Victoria. Effective May 5 Air North will be resuming flights between Whitehorse and Calgary & Edmonton as well. For more information on Air North’s schedule go to https://www.flyairnorth.com/flights/flight-schedules


FLAIR AIRLINES

UPDATED JULY 9, 2021: Flair is adding to its network and the airline now has flights scheduled to 20 and counting Canadian cities, plus 6 U.S. cities. The airline’s latest change policies are at https://flyflair.com/travel-info/customer-service/covid-19-updates.


PORTER AIRLINES

UPDATED JULY 6, 2021: Porter Airlines will resume domestic operations on Sept. 8, followed by the U.S. on Sept. 17, to select destinations. Porter is making all fares purchased by July 20, for travel through December 15, 2021, fully refundable, with no fees. This also applies to Porter Escapes vacation packages. The aim is to provide flexibility and give travellers peace of mind when purchasing for future travel.


SUNWING

UPDATED JUNE 24, 2021: Sunwing plans to resume partial service to select sun destinations from Toronto and Montreal, starting July 30, 2021. Sunwing’s initial lineup of destinations includes Cancun, Punta Cana, Varadero and Montego Bay. Sunwing’s domestic summer program is also open for bookings. Flights started in May 2021and run until the beginning of September 2021. Customers or their travel agents impacted by cancelled flights are being contacted by Sunwing directly to review their options. For the most up to date information see https://www.sunwing.ca/en/promotion/packages/important-travel-advisories.


SWOOP

UPDATED JUNE 10, 2021: Swoop will operate all nine of its aircraft domestically during summer 2021. The airline’s winter schedule will offer flights across Canada, as well as to sun destinations including Montego Bay, Las Vegas and Mesa/Phoenix and Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán.


TRANSAT

UPDATED JUNE 16, 2021: Transat is gearing up to restart operations on July 30, 2021. Air Transat’s winter 2021-2022 flight program features flights to nearly 50 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the U.S and Europe. Transat’s FTCs are fully transferable, with no expiry date.  More information for Transat can be found here.


WESTJET

UPDATED JUNE 25, 2021: WestJet is ready for summer 2021 with a long list of resumed flights. Complete details can be found here.

Transat ranks among Canada’s best corporate citizens and stands out in its industry

Montreal, June 30, 2021  Transat A.T. Inc. is ranked 21st on the 2021 list of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada, established annually by Corporate Knights research firm. It is the only company in its industry to be included in this ranking that recognizes organizations with outstanding records in governance and in the management of human, natural and financial resources.

“It is an honour to be once again among Canada’s best corporate citizens, which, like us, are committed to contributing to the well-being of society, reducing their impact on the environment and developing in a sustainable manner,” said Annick Guérard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. She added: “As we prepare to restart our post-pandemic operations, our commitments to corporate responsibility are more vital than ever.” She concluded: “I share this recognition with our employees and partners, who help us improve every day.”

Corporate Knights evaluates companies’ performance based on 24 key indicators, including energy and water consumption, production of waste and atmospheric emissions, employee turnover, representation of women in senior executive positions and on boards of directors, pension fund status, supply chain management and innovation.

Since 2007, Transat has implemented a sustainable development program based on four pillars: the environment, communities, operations and the workplace. In terms of eco-efficiency, the Corporation is modernizing its aircraft fleet, is part of the SAF+ Consortium for the development of sustainable aviation fuel and has a fuel management program for its fleet that it has been perfecting for 20 years. In its Sun market, Transat offers all-inclusive resorts that hold a certification recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the world benchmark in this area, and that receive more than a third of its customers. As a result of its efforts, in 2018 Transat became the world’s first major international tourism company to obtain Travelife certification for all of its tour operator and travel agent activities, in recognition of best practices in sustainable development in the tourism industry.

For comprehensive information on Transat’s sustainability initiatives, visit transat.com.

About Transat

Transat A.T. Inc. is a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel. Under the Transat and Air Transat banners, the Corporation offers vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel to some 60 destinations in over 25 countries in the Americas and Europe. Transat is firmly committed to sustainable tourism development, as reflected in its multiple corporate responsibility initiatives over the past 14 years and obtained Travelife certification in 2018. The Corporation is based in Montreal (TSX : TRZ).

Recent distinctions and awards

  • World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Ranked 2nd in the Travel and Leisure category and 57th overall on Forbes World’s Best Employers list
  • Best Tour Operator and Favourite Overall Supplier at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media

How the CTA will be processing refund-related complaints resulting from the pandemic

2 July 2021 Updated –  Financial support announced for Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing and Porter

As a condition of the financial support announced by the Government of Canada on April 12 to Air Canada, and subsequently to Air Transat on April 29, to Sunwing on June 25, and to Porter on June 30, the four airlines are required to refund passengers for certain pandemic-related cancelations.

As of April 13, Air Canada has begun offering eligible customers who purchased non-refundable fares, but did not travel due to COVID-19 since February 2020, the option of a refund to the original form of payment. Air Transat began doing so on April 29. Air Canada passengers have until July 12, 2021 to submit a request while Air Transat passengers have until August 26, 2021.

Sunwing also reached an agreement with the Canada enterprise emergency funding corp. Effective June 25, 2021, Sunwing Vacations will begin accepting and processing refund requests from eligible customers with non-refundable bookings whose vacations were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will apply to eligible flights, hotels and vacation packages booked on or before June 25, 2021 for scheduled travel on or after February 1, 2020. The deadline to submit a refund request is August 27, 2021.

Following the June 30th agreement with Porter airlines, the airline has begun reimbursing air passengers who are eligible for a refund for their flights booked between February 1, 2020, and prior to June 30, 2021. Customers have until August 29 to submit a refund request online.

As of June 29th at close of business, the CTA has received 16,551 complaints since March 15th 2020, of which 10,311 are related to refund-related issues stemming from the pandemic. Of these 16,551 complaints, 4,957 were filed against Air Canada, of which 2,514 sought refunds as a remedy. 1,725 complaints were filed against Air Transat, with 1,431 seeking refunds as a remedy. 1,665 of those were filed against Sunwing, of which 685 are seeking refunds as a remedy. 106 were filed against Porter, of which 91 sought refunds as a remedy.

The remaining complaints cover other air-travel related issues – for example, flight delays or baggage problems. It is anticipated that persons who seek a refund in their complaint to the CTA may be able to obtain such refund as part of the measures to be implemented by Air Canada, Air Transat and Sunwing as a condition for their financial support.

The process to receive a refund linked to the financial support announced for Air CanadaAir TransatSunwing and Porter is distinct from the CTA’s complaints process.

We will confirm whether applicants who filed complaints with us have had those resolved with the airlines.

The CTA will continue to process complaints unless passengers inform us they do not wish to pursue their complaints with us further (e. g., if a passenger receives a refund and is not seeking any further remedies). In the interests of fairness, the CTA processes most complaints on a first-in, first-out basis.

Consultation on new refund requirements – next steps

On December 18, 2020, the CTA was provided with a new authority to develop a regulation requiring airlines to issue refunds to passengers for flights cancelled for reasons beyond airlines’ control, when passengers’ itineraries cannot be completed within a reasonable time. We received over 100 submissions during the consultation period, which ended on March 1st 2021. We will be posting them online once available. The proposed regulations will be on Canada Gazette, Part I on July 3, 2021. Public comments can be submitted to Consultations-aeriennes.Air-Consultations@otc-cta.gc.ca until August 31, 2021. Share this page

Air Canada Wants $2.5 Million Passenger Refund DOT Fine Dropped

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Sumit Singh | July 1, 2021

In the middle of June, Simple Flying reported that the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking to fine Air Canada over $25.5 million due to its failure to provide refunds in a timely manner. The flag carrier of Canada is now defending this heavy penalty, sharing details of the situation in a 46-page letter to the United States’ transport authority.

Air Canada New York
The pandemic forced several cancellations and amendments, forcing airlines to dish out refunds and vouchers over the last year and a half. Photo: Getty Images

Frustration across the board

More than 6,000 passengers complained that Air Canada canceled or massively amended flights while refusing to give refunds. However, the DOT mandates refunds for passengers in specific circumstances. Thus, the DOT filed a formal complaint to the operator.

Air Canada had 15 days to respond to the complaint, which it now has. Notably, in the lengthy document, the company expresses that the DOT hasn’t alleged specific facts and didn’t establish that Air Canada’s policy of offering flight vouchers is unfair practice.

The firm adds that its contractual refund policy is both fair and entirely consistent with its “General Terms and Conditions of Carriage (“Conditions of Carriage”) and International Tariff (“Tariff”)” that govern the contractual relationship between it and its customers.

The airline shares that as the pandemic grew and started to affect operations in North America, the carrier was forced to amend its services and policies based on the ever-changing conditions. Despite the restrictions in place, Air Canada states that it responded in a manner that complies with all related CTA and DOT regulations.

Air Canada
Air Canada claims that its refund policy complied with all DOT and CTA regulations at the time. Photo: Getty Images

The offerings

Air Canada adds that it also adhered to US and Canadian health and safety requirements. Altogether, the airline had to cancel numerous transborder services and refocused its attention on repatriation operations.

“Throughout the pandemic, Air Canada’s Contractual Refund Policy, which complied with the terms of its Conditions of Carriage and Tariff, applicable fare rules, and DOT and CTA regulations, uniformly provided customers whose non-refundable flight reservations were cancelled by Air Canada on or after March 19, 2020 due to government restrictions caused by COVID-19, with flight vouchers,” Air Canada shares in the document.

“Specifically, Air Canada offered its customers a number of refund options (collectively referred to as “AC Refunds”) to choose from based on their individual situations and needs. The first option was a full refund in the form of a travel credit. Initially after the pandemic hit, Air Canada provided flight travel credits (“FTCs”) which lasted for two years and were similar to vouchers offered by most other carriers.”

After the middle of the summer, the airline began offering Air Canada Travel Vouchers (“ACTVs”). It calls these cash equivalent products that do not expire and are reusable. They are also transferrable without restriction. Air Canada adds these vouchers can be transferred for cash or any other lawful consideration to any other person “for use without restriction.” They can also be used for travel on flights served by one of the carrier’s codeshare partners.

Air Canada
The airline highlights that that passenger had a choice to book a refundable or non-refundable ticket, and could have avoided issues if they chose the former. Photo: Getty Images

Troubles across the industry

The carrier recently extended its refund policy, allowing those that made bookings before April 13th, 2021, for travel on or after February 1st, 2020, to submit their refund requests if they did not fly for any reason.

The airline is by far the not only airline facing scrutiny amid its refund processes since the rise of the pandemic. The company, along with compatriots WestJet Airlines, Swoop, Sunwing Airlines, and Air Transat, had been facing court action since last fall. Sunwing Airlines will now borrow $100 million from the government to provide refunds. Across the nations, the likes of Air New Zealand, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Ryanair faced criticism over the last year or so.

Transport Canada, Boeing 737 MAX, Recertified
Air Canada and WestJet are planning to fly their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to London. Photo: Getty Images

Overall, Air Canada requests that its “Motion to Dismiss” is granted. It wants the DOT complaint to be dismissed due to the reasons provided in its letter.

Simple Flying reached out to Air Canada for comment on the fine. We will update the article with any further announcements from the airline.