Category: Air Transat

Air Transat unveils its 2020 summer flight program for British Columbia and Alberta

Provided by Transit A. T. Inc./CNW

The airline is strengthening its position as a leader in holiday travel with an array of flight options to Europe and Mexico

MONTREAL, Feb. 18, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Transat, named the 2019 World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, proudly presents its 2020 summer flight program for British Columbia and Alberta. The airline will be offering 12 direct flights a week from Vancouver to Europe and Mexico. What’s more, Air Transat will continue to optimize its flights within Canada to provide travellers in Vancouver and Calgary with even more options to visit Europe via connecting flights.

European destinations still a priority
Air Transat’s new program features three direct flights a week from Vancouver to Amsterdam (Netherlands), London (England) and Manchester (England).

Air Transat has also increased its number of flights from Vancouver to Europe with connecting flights through Toronto and Montreal to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Basel-Mulhouse (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), Bordeaux (France), Copenhagen (Denmark), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Lyon (France), Madrid and Malaga (Spain), Marseille, Nantes, Nice and Paris (France), Porto (Portugal), Prague (Czech Republic), Rome (Italy), Toulouse (France), Venice (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia). 

From Calgary, travellers will have access to 23 European destinations via Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal: Amsterdam (Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Basel-Mulhouse (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Brussels (Belgium), Dublin (Ireland), Glasgow (Scotland), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Lyon (France), Madrid and Malaga (Spain), Manchester (England), Marseille, Nantes, Nice and Paris (France), Porto (Portugal), Prague (Czech Republic), Rome (Italy), Toulouse (France), Venice (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia). 

Direct flights to explore Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Sunny destinations are a big draw, even in the summer. That’s why the airline will offer three direct flights a week from Vancouver to Puerto Vallarta.

Domestic flights to explore Canada
Each week, there will be 12 flights between Vancouver and Toronto and a daily flight between Vancouver and Montreal. From Calgary, Air Transat will fly once a week to Vancouver and four times a week to Toronto and Montreal. 

It’s worth noting that last year marked the arrival of Air Transat’s first Airbus A321neoLRs. Combining these aircraft with Air Transat’s widebody fleet gives the airline a great deal of flexibility. It means more flights to Europe and the South, in addition to connecting flights from major Canadian airports. Travellers win big, with more holiday choices and increased frequencies to their chosen destinations.

FLIGHTS FROM VANCOUVER TO EUROPE

CITY – CountryNo. of Direct FlightsNo. of Connecting Flights via Montreal and Toronto
LONDON – England315
MANCHESTER – England3
AMSTERDAM – Netherlands34
BRUSSELS – Belgium3
ZAGREB – Croatia3
PRAGUE – Czech Republic2
PARIS – France17
BORDEAUX – France1
LYON – France5
NANTES – France4
NICE – France2
MARSEILLE – France5
TOULOUSE – France5
ATHENS – Greece1
ROME – Italy12
VENICE – Italy3
LISBON – Portugal5
PORTO – Portugal6
BARCELONA – Spain4
MADRID – Spain3
MALAGA – Spain3
BASEL-MULHOUSE – Switzerland2
COPENHAGEN – Denmark1
Total9106

FLIGHTS FROM VANCOUVER TO PUERTO VALLARTA

CITY – CountryNo. of Direct Flights
PUERTO VALLARTA – Mexico3
Total3

FLIGHTS FROM CALGARY TO EUROPE

CITY – CountryNo. of Connecting Flights via Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto
LONDON – England11
MANCHESTER – England3
GLASGOW – Scotland3
AMSTERDAM – Netherlands2
BRUSSELS – Belgium2
ZAGREB – Croatia1
PRAGUE – Czech Republic2
PARIS – France13
LYON – France4
MARSEILLE – France3
NANTES – France2
NICE – France1
TOULOUSE – France3
ATHENS – Greece1
ROME – Italy7
VENICE – Italy2
LISBON – Portugal4
PORTO – Portugal3
BARCELONA – Spain2
MADRID – Spain2
MALAGA – Spain2
BASEL-MULHOUSE – Switzerland1
DUBLIN – Ireland2
Total76

FLIGHTS WITHIN CANADA

SegmentNo. of Direct Flights
Vancouver-Toronto12
Vancouver-Montreal7
Vancouver-Calgary 1
Calgary-Vancouver1
Calgary-Toronto4
Calgary-Montreal4
Total29

Air Transat unveils its 2020 summer flight program for Ontario

Provided by Transit A. T. Inc./CNW

The airline is strengthening its position as a leader in holiday travel with more flight options to Europe, the South and the United States, and a new direct flight to Faro, Portugal

MONTREAL, Feb. 18, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Transat, named the 2019 World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, proudly presents its 2020 summer flight program for Ontario. In all, the airline will be offering 95 direct flights a week from Toronto to Europe, the South and the United States. This includes a new direct flight to Faro, Portugal—a first in the summertime.

European destinations still a priorityAir Transat’s new program features 14 weekly flights to London (England), up from nine flights a week in summer 2019. There will be five direct flights a week to Manchester (England), Dublin (Ireland), Glasgow (Scotland) and Paris (France). Options will also abound for Italy, with seven direct flights a week to Rome, two to Venice and one to Lamezia. Travellers will find eight weekly departures for Portugal: four to Lisbon, three to Porto and, for the first time in summer, a direct flight to Faro, in the Algarve. Finally, Air Transat will fly direct three times a week to Barcelona (Spain), Zagreb (Croatia) and Athens (Greece), and four times to Amsterdam (Netherlands).

Year-round beach getaways with Air Transat
Sunny destinations are a big draw, even in the summer. That’s why the airline will offer a total of 30 weekly flights from Toronto to eight South destinations: six direct flights a week to Cancun (Mexico); four direct flights to Varadero, three to Cayo Coco and Santa Clara and two to Holguin (Cuba); two direct flights to Montego Bay (Jamaica); as well as one direct flight to Puerto Plata and five to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). During peak season, travellers will also find two direct flights a week to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando (United States).

Even more European destinations via Montreal
Air Transat has also increased its number of flights from Toronto to Europe with connecting flights through Montreal to Basel-Mulhouse (Switzerland), Bordeaux (France), Brussels (Belgium), Lyon (France), Madrid (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Marseille (France), Nantes (France), Nice (France), Prague (Czech Republic) and Toulouse (France). New to the roster: Air Transat will be flying twice a week to Copenhagen, the Danish capital, from Montreal.

Domestic flights to explore CanadaEach week, there will be 16 departures from Toronto to Montreal, 12 to Vancouver and four to Calgary.

It’s worth noting that last year marked the arrival of Air Transat’s first Airbus A321neoLRs. Combining these aircraft with Air Transat’s wide‑body fleet gives the airline a great deal of flexibility. It means more flights to Europe, the South and the United States, in addition to connecting flights from major Canadian airports. Travellers win big, with more holiday choices and increased frequencies to their chosen destinations.

FLIGHTS FROM TORONTO TO EUROPE

CITY – CountryNo. of Direct FlightsNo. of Connecting Flights via Montreal
LONDON – England146
MANCHESTER – England5
ZAGREB – Croatia3
GLASGOW – Scotland5
ATHENS – Greece3
DUBLIN – Ireland5
ROME – Italy76
VENICE – Italy23
LAMEZIA – Italy1
LISBON – Portugal46
PORTO – Portugal35
FARO – Portugal1
AMSTERDAM – Netherlands4
PARIS – France521
BORDEAUX – France2
LYON – France7
NANTES – France8
NICE – France1
MARSEILLE – France6
TOULOUSE – France5
BRUSSELS – Belgium6
COPENHAGEN – Denmark2
BARCELONA – Spain35
MADRID – Spain6
MALAGA – Spain3
BASEL-MULHOUSE – Switzerland2
PRAGUE – Czech Republic2
Total65102

FLIGHTS FROM TORONTO TO THE SOUTH AND UNITED STATES

CITY – CountryNo. of Direct Flights
SOUTH
CANCUN – Mexico6
CAYO COCO – Cuba3
HOLGUIN – Cuba2
SANTA CLARA – Cuba3
VARADERO – Cuba4
MONTEGO BAY – Jamaica2
PUERTO PLATA – Dominican Republic1
PUNTA CANA – Dominican Republic5
UNITED STATES
FORT LAUDERDALE – Florida2
ORLANDO – Florida2
Total30

FLIGHTS WITHIN CANADA FROM TORONTO

SegmentNo. of Direct Flights
Toronto-Montreal16
Toronto-Vancouver12
Toronto-Calgary4
Total32

Air Canada Reports 2019 Annual Results

Provided by Air Canada/CNW

  • Record operating revenues of $19.131 billion
  • Operating income of $1.650 billion
  • EBITDA of $3.636 billion and EBITDA margin of 19 per cent
  • Record unrestricted liquidity of $7.380 billion and leverage ratio of 0.8

MONTREAL, Feb. 18, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today reported 2019 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and impairment) of $3.636 billion compared to 2018 EBITDA of $3.213 billion, an increase of $423 million or 13 per cent. The airline reported operating income of $1.650 billion in 2019 compared to operating income of $1.496 billion in 2018.

“I am very pleased to report strong fourth quarter and full year results for 2019, a year in which we generated record revenues in excess of $19 billion and reached record levels of unrestricted liquidity, despite the loss to Air Canada of approximately 25 per cent of our narrow-body fleet for most of the year following the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. These results underscore the airline’s ability to overcome major challenges as well as the deep commitment of Air Canada’s 37,000 strong team, which took care of our customers under extremely complicated operational circumstances. With this backdrop, I am especially proud that we were able to deliver on the outlook we provided for key financial metrics for the year. Our discipline was rewarded by an 87 per cent return on our shares in 2019, which, when added to our returns over the previous nine years, made Air Canada the top performing stock on the TSX for the past decade with a 3,575 per cent return,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

“The agility and consistency that we displayed in 2019 gives me confidence that we will successfully execute on the several key opportunities now before us. This includes the launch of our new loyalty program later this year, which we expect will be the best airline loyalty program in the world. We also look forward to completing our proposed merger with Transat A.T., which was approved by nearly 95 per cent of Transat shareholders last summer and now remains subject to applicable regulatory approvals. This is a wholly Canadian solution that will secure jobs and result in more travel options and benefits for both airlines’ customers and other stakeholders.

“We start 2020 with uncertainty from the on-going Boeing 737 MAX grounding and the constraints it imposes, as well as emerging economic and geopolitical risks and route suspensions resulting from the COVID-19 virus. However, our strong balance sheet, globe-spanning network that diversifies our revenue sources, brand strength as North America’s Best Airline as rated by Skytrax, young fleet, dedicated and talented employees and nimble management team equip us to respond effectively to any challenges that come our way. Our dedicated and professional team is highly motivated to deliver service excellence to our loyal customer base, and I thank both groups for contributing to our strong 2019 results in the face of adversity,” said Mr. Rovinescu.

Full Year 2019Income Statement Highlights

Air Canada began consolidating Aeroplan’s financial results on the date of the acquisition of Aeroplan, January 10, 2019. 

In 2019, on a capacity increase of 1.8 per cent, record system passenger revenues of $17.232 billion increased $1.071 billion or 6.6 per cent from 2018. The increase in system passenger revenues was driven by a yield improvement of 4.6 per cent and traffic growth of 1.9 per cent. System yield improved due to the constrained capacity resulting from the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as well as a generally improved pricing environment, mainly in North America. The yield increase also included additional revenues from Aeroplan flight redemptions and other revenues subsequent to the Aeroplan acquisition. 

In 2019, operating expenses of $17.481 billion increased $974 million or 6 per cent from 2018. Air Canada’s cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 4.1 per cent from 2018. The airline’s adjusted CASM(1) increased 6.1 per cent from 2018. These increases reflected, in large part, the impact of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft grounding, which resulted in a system ASM increase of 1.8 per cent versus planned system ASM growth of approximately 4.8 per cent, in addition to higher costs associated with replacement aircraft, and on-going operating expenses, including depreciation and pilot wages that continued to be incurred in relation to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft despite their grounding.  Given that the Aeroplan loyalty business was not consolidated in Air Canada’s financial results in 2018, for a more meaningful comparison of the cost performance of the on-going airline business, Air Canada’s adjusted CASM for the fourth quarter and full year 2019 excludes the operating expenses of Aeroplan. Air Canada estimates that, had it operated the 36 Boeing MAX aircraft as originally planned during 2019, adjusted CASM would have reflected an increase of approximately 2.5 per cent when compared to 2018.  

Air Canada’s full year 2019 EBITDA margin of 19.0 per cent met the target margin of approximately 19.0 per cent projected in Air Canada’s news release dated October 29, 2019. Air Canada estimates that its 2019 EBITDA margin would have been approximately 30 basis points higher at 19.3 per cent, when excluding two fourth quarter one-time items, each of which similarly contributed to this impact:  (a) a one-time negative impact on revenue arising from Air Canada’s transition, in mid-November, to a new passenger service system, and (b) higher than expected stock-based and other compensation expenses resulting from an increase in Air Canada’s share price and from higher accruals in respect of employee profit sharing programs.

Full year 2019 net income amounted to $1.476 billion or $5.44 per diluted share compared to 2018 net income of $37 million or $0.13 per diluted share. The year 2019 included foreign exchange gains of $499 million while 2018 included foreign exchange losses of $578 million. Air Canada recorded a loss on disposal of assets of $188 million in 2018. Air Canada reported adjusted net income(1)  of $917 million or $3.37 per diluted share in 2019 compared to adjusted net income of $738 million or $2.67 per diluted share in 2018. 

Fourth Quarter 2019Income Statement Highlights

In the fourth quarter of 2019, Air Canada reported EBITDA of $665 million  ompared to fourth quarter 2018 EBITDA of $619 million, an increase of $46 million or 7 per cent. As discussed above, the fourth quarter of 2019 was impacted by two one-time items which had the effect of reducing EBITDA by approximately $60 million. The airline reported fourth quarter 2019 operating income of $145 million compared to fourth quarter 2018 operating income of $179 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, on a capacity increase of 3.3 per cent, record system passenger revenues of $3.975 billion increased $199 million or 5.3 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2018.  The increase in system passenger revenues was driven by traffic growth of 2.9 per cent and a yield improvement of 2.3 per cent. The yield improvement in the fourth quarter of 2019, particularly in North America, was in part due to the constrained capacity resulting from the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The yield growth also reflected additional revenue from Aeroplan flight redemptions and other revenues.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, operating expenses of $4.284 billion increased $236 million or 6 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2018. Air Canada’s CASM increased 2.5 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2018. The airline’s adjusted CASM increased 5.5 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2018.  These increases reflected, in large part, the impact of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft grounding which resulted in a system ASM increase of 3.3 per cent versus planned system ASM growth of approximately 4.6 per cent. The grounding also resulted in higher operating costs driven by the factors discussed in “Full Year 2019 Income Statement Highlights” above. 

Record fourth quarter 2019 net income amounted to $152 million or $0.56 per diluted share compared to a fourth quarter 2018 net loss of $360 million or $1.33 per diluted share. The fourth quarter of 2019 included foreign exchange gains of $92 million while the fourth quarter of 2018 included foreign exchange losses of $444 million. Air Canada reported adjusted net income(1)  of $47 million or $0.17 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to adjusted net income of $55 million or $0.20 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2018. 

Financial and Capital Management Highlights

At December 31, 2019, unrestricted liquidity (cash, cash equivalents and short and long-term investments, and undrawn lines of credit) amounted to a record $7.380 billion (December 31, 2018 – $5.725 billion). 

At December 31, 2019, net debt of $2.841 billion decreased $2.373 billion from December 31, 2018, reflecting an increase in cash, cash equivalents and short and long-term investment balances of $1.694 billion and a decrease in long-term debt and lease liabilities (including current portion) of $679 million. At December 31, 2019, Air Canada’s leverage ratio was 0.8, in line with the leverage ratio not exceeding 1.0 projected in Air Canada’s news release dated October 29, 2019. This compares to a leverage ratio of 1.6 at December 31, 2018.

In 2019, net cash flows from operating activities of $5.712 billion increased $2.242 billion from 2018. In 2019, free cash flow of $2.075 billion increased $748 million from 2018 and was higher than the free cash flow of between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion projected in Air Canada’s new release dated October 29, 2019. The higher than expected free cash flow was due to a combination of factors, including higher cash from operations, a lower than projected level of capital expenditures due to certain projects being deferred to 2020, and to an initial settlement payment from Boeing as further described below.

For the 12 months ended December 31, 2019, return on invested capital (ROIC(1)) was 15.5 per cent, in line with the ROIC of between 15.5 per cent and 16.0 per cent projected in Air Canada’s news release dated October 29, 2019. Air Canada’s ROIC at December 31, 2019 was significantly higher than Air Canada’s weighted average cost of capital of 7.0 per cent.

Air Canada has been in discussions with Boeing and is seeking to settle the terms of an arrangement in relation to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Until such time as an arrangement is finalized, information regarding the outstanding purchase commitments for aircraft is subject to change. An initial settlement payment contemplated by the arrangement was made to Air Canada during the fourth quarter of 2019, with any further amounts subject to finalization of the arrangement. The compensation is accounted for as an adjustment to the purchase price of current and future deliveries and will flow through Air Canada’s consolidated statement of operations as reduced depreciation expense over the life of the aircraft, and as a reduction to additions to property and equipment on the consolidated statement of cash flow. 

Normal Course Issuer Bid

In 2019, Air Canada purchased, for cancellation, a total of 9,082,487 shares at an average cost of $41.64 per share for aggregate consideration of $378 million. At December 31, 2019, a total of 17,877,551 shares remained available for repurchase under Air Canada’s issuer bid which is scheduled to expire May 30, 2020.

Outlook

In addition to the Additional Guidance and Major Assumptions noted below, Air Canada’s 2020 first quarter and full year outlook in relation to both EBITDA and ASM capacity growth assumes that Air Canada’s mainland China and Hong Kong services will be fully recovered by the third quarter of 2020 and that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will gradually return to service commencing late in the third quarter of 2020. 

First Quarter 2020

As noted above, the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will not fly during the first quarter of 2020, as compared to 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operating for the majority of the first quarter of 2019.  In addition, due to the impact of recent service suspensions to mainland China and from Toronto to Hong Kong, combined with a higher proportion of projected annual operating expense increases in both aircraft maintenance and employee benefits in the first quarter of 2020 (as described below), Air Canada expects first quarter 2020 EBITDA to be approximately $200 million lower than the first quarter of 2019. 

Full Year 2020

For the full year 2020, Air Canada projects an EBITDA margin of approximately 19 per cent, which would result in a small increase in EBITDA versus the reported EBITDA of $3.636 billion in 2019.

For the full year 2020, Air Canada expects ASM capacity to increase 1 to 2 per cent when compared to the full year 2019.

Additional Guidance

For the full year 2020:

Aircraft Maintenance Expense

Air Canada expects aircraft maintenance expense to increase by approximately $150 million from the full year 2019, with one-third of the increase expected to be incurred in the first quarter of 2020.  The projected increase includes the impact of additional Airbus A330 aircraft in the operating fleet (which are under power-by-the-hour arrangements) and a higher volume of engine maintenance activity year-over-year.

Employee Benefits Expense

Air Canada expects employee benefits expense to increase by approximately $105 million from the full year 2019, with one-third of the increase expected to be incurred in the first quarter of 2020. The projected increase is mainly driven by lower discount rates related to pension and post-employment benefits.

Depreciation and Amortization

Air Canada expects depreciation and amortization expense to increase by approximately $35 million from the full year 2019. The projected increase primarily reflects aircraft acquisitions. 

Major Assumptions

In addition to the above assumptions relating to the return to service of Air Canada’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and the recovery of Air Canada’s mainland China and Hong Kong services, Air Canada is making the following assumptions in preparing and making forward-looking statements. As part of its 2020 assumptions, Air Canada assumes:

  • Modest Canadian GDP growth for the first quarter and full year 2020.
  • That the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.33 per U.S. dollar in the first quarter and for full year 2020.
  • That the price of jet fuel will average 71 CAD cents per litre in the first quarter and 74 CAD cents for the full year 2020.
  • That six of 12 undelivered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft originally scheduled for delivery in 2019 will be delivered in 2020 with the remaining six delivered in 2021, and that 14 undelivered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft originally scheduled for delivery in 2020 will be delivered in 2021.

The assumptions related to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and the recovery of the mainland China and Hong Kong businesses also apply to the 2021 financial guidance discussed below. 

Investor Day Targets

The financial guidance provided in Air Canada’s news release dated February 28, 2019 for 2021 with respect to annual EBITDA margin and annual ROIC, as well as the cumulative free cash flow over the 2019-2021 period, remains in place. The targets are as follows:

  • Annual EBITDA margin of 19 to 22 percent
  • Annual ROIC of 16 to 20 percent
  • Cumulative free cash flow of $4.0 billion to $4.5 billion over the 2019 to 2021 period
    (As noted above, Air Canada generated free cash flow of $2.075 billion in 2019.)

It is premature to assess what the impact of Air Canada’s planned acquisition of Transat A.T. would be, and it is therefore not factored into Air Canada’s guidance. 

The outlook provided constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws and is based on a number of assumptions (including those provided above) and subject to a number of risks. Please see the section below entitled “Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information”.

Scandinavia within reach: discover cool Copenhagen with Transat

Provided by Transat A.T. Inc/CNW

MONTREAL, Feb. 11, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Transat, Canada’s leader in leisure travel, will bring Scandinavia and its legendary charms closer to Canadian travellers this summer with two direct flights per week out of Montreal to Copenhagen, along with a selection of guided tours, packages and cruises that highlight Nordic splendours. There’s something for every type of traveller!

Copenhagen (credit : Martin Heiberg) (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)
Copenhagen (credit : Martin Heiberg) (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

Surrounded by the North Sea on one side and the Baltic on the other, Scandinavia shines the brightest in summertime. From Norway’s majestic fjords to the Stockholm archipelago and the cities of Denmark, you have a range of options to plan the perfect itinerary!

Copenhagen, the jewel in Scandinavia’s crown
One of the world’s great design capitals, beautiful Copenhagen is renowned for its waterways and green spaces, and as a place where pedestrians and cyclists reign supreme.

You’ll want to take a boat ride along the canals lined with colourful houses, immerse yourself in culture at one of the royal palaces, enjoy a four-star dining experience, or explore the latest in lifestyle and sustainability trends. In addition, you’ll soak up the Nordic concept of hygge and learn first-hand why the Danes consistently top the lists of the world’s happiest people.

Copenhagen aficionados and first-timers alike will love Transat’s package which includes air travel, transfers, accommodations, and breakfasts, along with the Copenhagen Card, providing access to more than 80 top attractions so you can maximize your sightseeing in every neighbourhood of this multifaceted city.

All the must-sees in Scandinavia, with flexible options
If you’re seeking a worry-free way to experience Scandinavia, from its Viking heritage to its breathtaking sea-and-sky scenery, look no further than the Viking Route in Denmark & Sweden guided tour: 14 idyllic days in the two countries including air travel, transfers, accommodations, coach and ferry transport, and the services of an experienced guide. All the highlights of this stunning destination are covered, from a stroll through the cobblestoned streets of Ribe’s old town to tours of the royal castles of Koldinghus and Frederiksborg, plus all of Copenhagen’s must-visit spots, of course. The rich heritage of the former Danish capital, Roskilde, is another high point, starting with the Viking Ship Museum, home to more than 1,000 years of history, and the medieval cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the final resting place of many Danish kings and queens. On the way to Gothenburg and Helsingborg, in Sweden, travellers can spot seals in their natural habitat during a scenic cruise in the Kattegat Strait, and admire the wild beaches along the Jutland peninsula. In short, it’s the best of marine, city and country life all in one tour.

Transat is also offering two multi-city packages lasting 9 or 11 days. Each features 3 destinations and zero hassles for travellers: they’ll be free to explore the essentials of Scandinavia at their own pace, but with no worries when it comes to planning, since their itinerary, transportation and accommodations are all taken care of.

The first package, Denmark’s Highlights, focuses on Denmark’s cultural heritage with a stop at the sublime ARoS modern art museum in Aarhus, and a chance to follow in the footsteps of Hans Christian Andersen in the town of Odense, the Little Mermaid author’s picturesque birthplace. Feeling more ambitious? You’ll want to choose the second package, Capitals of the North, which lines up an enchanting trio of urban expeditions. You can explore the Oslo fjord by kayak, marvel at the underground art gallery of Stockholm’s subway, and indulge in Nordic cuisine at Copenhagen’s hippest wine bars… all on the same trip!

Ever the leader in European vacations, Transat also has a wide range of accommodations and car rental options for travellers who would rather explore Scandinavia at their leisure.

Group cruises
Groups of 10 passengers or more will love the cruise offering from Transat and its exclusive partners, with four packages exploring Baltic and Scandinavian coastal attractions to choose from, all sailing from Copenhagen.

Russia’s glorious palaces, the little-known historic centres of Estonia, the magnificent natural features of Norway’s coast, the cosmopolitan German cities, and the architectural marvels of Finland are just a few of the many sights that are sure to dazzle travellers.

With Air Transat, Europe is more accessible than ever
Air Transat, named the World’s Best Leisure Airline in 2019, is proud to be the only carrier to offer nonstop service between Montreal and Copenhagen, with two weekly flights per week from June 16 to September 20, 2020. The destination is also accessible to Canadian travellers from Toronto and Vancouver via Montreal.

Passengers will fly on the Airbus A321neoLR, a next-generation aircraft recently added to the Air Transat fleet that delivers an improved inflight experience, including the spacious Club Class and gourmet dining, and the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (CO2 and NOx) emissions in its class.

Air Transat ordered to reimburse tardy passenger who was barred from flight A judge ordered Air Transat to pay 75 per cent of the cost of a passenger's ticket after she wasn't allowed to board her flight when she arrived late.

News provided by the Vancouver Sun – link to full story and updates

A judge ordered Air Transat to pay 75 per cent of the cost of a passenger’s ticket after she wasn’t allowed to board her flight when she arrived late.

PRESSE CANADIENNE January 29, 2020

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 1, 2018, Air Transat jets prepare to take off at at MontréalPierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Canada. – Canada’s flagship airline Air Canada announced on June 27, 2019, it has reached a deal to buy tour operator Transat for Can$520 million (US$396 million) in cash or Can$13 per share. The deal unanimously supported by Transat’s board still requires regulatory and shareholder approvals. It comes after 30-day exclusive negotiations between the two carriers. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP)

A judge has ordered Air Transat to pay damages to a passenger who wasn’t allowed to board her flight because the airline decided she had arrived at the boarding gate too late.

Court of Quebec Judge Luc Hervé Thibaudeau ruled in small claims court that the airline hadn’t fulfilled its obligations toward the passenger, who was flying to Guadeloupe, and had failed in its duty to co-operate.

Air Transat flies direct from Montreal to the group of islands in the Caribbean.

On Dec. 24, 2017, Cora Abraham arrived at the airport around 6 a.m. for a 7:50 a.m. flight to Guadeloupe. 

She attempted to check in at the terminals without success. An agent wasn’t able to check her in, either. Abraham then had to stand in line for 40 minutes before reaching the check-in counter. However, the agents didn’t immediately find her reservation.

Finally, an hour before takeoff, her boarding pass was issued and she was assigned a seat.

Still, at airport customs, Abraham had to stand in line again.

When she arrived at the gate, she was refused boarding and her baggage was returned.

Abraham testified that she saw the passageway to the plane and saw the plane had not yet left the platform.

Since she had to attend a funeral, she purchased another plane ticket for another flight for about $675. She went to court to claim the $675 as well as other fees.

Air Transat argued that passengers taking international flights are informed they should arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight.

Abraham acknowledged the information was given to her, but argued it took longer to get to the airport that day because of poor road conditions due to the weather.

According to airline policy, it’s up to a plane’s captain to decide whether to allow a tardy passenger to board.

An airline requires a serious motive to refuse to transport a passenger to their destination, the judge said in his ruling, which was dated Jan. 3. At the same time, a passenger is required to follow the instructions of the airline, he said.

Thibaudeau ruled that Abraham checked in on time, and noted that part of her delay was caused by the agents who were unable to find her reservation.

As well, Air Transat made no attempt to inform the flight crew or the boarding agents that the passenger was on her way to the gate, the judge wrote. “By refusing her access to the plane a few minutes later, (Air) Transat failed in its own commitments.”

However, the passenger was partly responsible for her troubles because she didn’t take the necessary steps to arrive at the airport earlier, Thibaudeau said in the ruling.

The judge assigned Abraham 25 per cent of the responsibility. The airline was ordered to reimburse 75 per cent of the cost of her plane ticket.

Forbes Canada's Best Employers: Air Transat climbs to 8th place nationally and 3rd in Quebec

Provided by Transat A.T. Inc./CNW

MONTREAL, Jan. 29, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Transat, named the World’s Best Leisure Airline in 2019, now ranks eighth on Forbes magazine’s annual list of Canada’s Best Employers, up by an impressive 43 positions compared with last year. In Quebec, meanwhile, the company jumped 10 spots into third.

“It’s a huge honour to be in the select club of Canada’s top 10 employers, and to reach the top three in Quebec,” said Christophe Hennebelle, Vice-President, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Transat. “We offer a stimulating, diversified work environment where teamwork, recognition and personnel development are highly valued. Thanks to these assets, which are aligned with the company’s engagement values, we have built a robust employer brand that our people take pride in, and that has brought us to this level. Every day, our 5,000 employees embody the joy of vacations and contribute to the company’s success. We thank them for their dedication and commitment to our customers.”

Forbes establishes its ranking of the country’s top employers based on a survey of 8,000 Canadians who work for private and public companies with more than 500 employees. Answers are given anonymously.

The industry watches, and waits: the proposed Air Canada-Transat deal The industry watches, and waits: the proposed Air Canada-Transat deal

News provided by Travelweek Group – link to full story

The industry watches, and waits: the proposed Air Canada-Transat deal

Monday, December 30, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group

TORONTO — The travel industry was still abuzz about the proposed acquisition of WestJet by private equity firm Onex Corp., announced May 13, 2019, when word came later that week that Air Canada was looking to buy Transat.

Just two weeks before, on April 30, Transat revealed that it was fielding interest from a number of suitors for its acquisition. Those suitors included Quebecor Inc., led by chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau, and Group Mach. As it turned out, Group Mach wouldn’t back down quietly.

The-industry-watches-and-waits-the-proposed-Air-Canada-Transat-deal

Air Canada was more than a little interested too. On May 16 Air Canada and Transat announced they had entered into an exclusive agreement that would see Air Canada buying Transat in a $520 million deal, later upped to $720 million.

While the WestJet-Onex deal became official on Dec. 11, the proposed Air Canada-Transat deal is still in the midst of a 250-day public interest assessment.

The proposed deal was immediately on the radar for the Competition Bureau and other regulatory authorities, including those in Europe. A combined Air Canada – Transat would command some 60% of the transatlantic market out of Canada. There are also concerns about job losses. Air Canada has said that the proposed deal would create a Montreal-based global travel services company in leisure, tourism and travel distribution operating across Canada and internationally.

Meanwhile, like a suitor scorned, Group Mach was back on the scene in early June, making a rival bid for Transat. The Quebec-based real estate developer stepped up with a new bid worth $14 per share, topping Air Canada’s offer of $13 per share.

The war of words played out like a bad soap opera, with Transat calling Group Mach’s offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”. Group Mach CEO Vincent Chiara called Air Canada’s bid “unhealthy.”

Even Quebecor’s Peladeau came back on the scene. Peladeau, who is said to own a 1.6% stake in Transat A.T., said he planned to vote against the Air Canada bid because it is “contrary to the public interest.” Other major shareholders expressed their dissatisfaction with Air Canada’s offer as well.

But on Aug. 23, Air Canada’s offer, since boosted to $720 million ($18 per share), got a resounding yes from an overwhelming majority of Transat’s shareholders, giving the proposed acquisition another green light on the road to completion.

Will the deal go through? The travel industry is watching and waiting, not only to see how the two airlines will combine forces, but also to see what will happen with the two tour operators, including Transat’s fledgling resorts division, not to mention Transat’s retail arm. Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) has over 400 locations, from bricks-and-mortar including Transat Travel, Marlin Travel and more, to home-based.

An unforgettable year for Canada’s airlines: A look back at 2019

News provided by Travelweek Group – link to full story

Travelweek News top story
An unforgettable year for Canada’s airlines: A look back at 2019

Monday, December 30, 2019 Posted by Travelweek Group

TORONTO — It was a whirlwind 12 months for airline acquisition news. And it all started with one particularly surprising week in May.

On May 13 WestJet announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement for its acquisition by Onex Corporation for an all-cash deal worth $5 billion.

On May 16, three days later, Air Canada and Transat said they were in negotiations, with the upshot that Air Canada was looking to buy Transat for some $520 million (ultimately boosted to $720 million).

The Air Canada-Transat announcement certainly put an end to any conjecture that Onex might be looking to acquire Transat too, adding Transat’s strengths in the east to WestJet’s in the west.

Canada’s airline industry, relatively calm for many years, was suddenly headline news again as the financial pundits weighed in on both deals.

Amid all that, over the course of 2019 airlines became public enemy number one for climate change concerns.

First flight from Vancouver to Costa Rica

Provided by Transat A.T. Inc/CNW

New routes to San José and Liberia

MONTRÉAL, Dec. 19, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – We inaugurated yesterday a service between Vancouver and Costa Rica, consisting of a direct flight to San José and a second flight segment to Liberia. The route is available twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, until April 18.

Air Transat YVR-SJO Inaugural Flight (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)
Air Transat YVR-SJO Inaugural Flight (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

“We are proud to be adding these new destinations to our winter 2019–2020 program and in the process enhancing service out of Vancouver,” says Jean-François Lemay, President-General Manager of Air Transat. “These new routes make it easier than ever for travellers to explore Costa Rica, an increasingly popular tourist destination that has so much to offer in the way of rich culture and majestic scenery.”

To mark the occasion, the team at Vancouver International Airport served up beverages and sweet treats to passengers before they boarded Air Transat’s first-ever flight TS796.

After its initial stop in San José, the aircraft landed at Daniel-Oduber-Quirós International Airport in Liberia to a traditional water cannon salute. Disembarking passengers watched a ribbon-cutting celebration and enjoyed snacks in the company of César Jaramillo, CEO of the airport.

“We are excited to see the fruits of our ongoing efforts in conjunction with government authorities to attract new flights and airlines,” said Mr. Jaramillo. “The new route operated by Air Transat provides direct service to and from Vancouver but also connections to the rest of Canada. This is a very important market for achieving our goal of maintaining growth in tourist arrivals from the northern part of the continent.”

“With this new Air Transat connection, Vancouverites can now fly direct to Costa Rica’s main airport,” said Rafael Mencía, Executive Director of AERIS, the Juan Santamaría International airport authority. “This new route will encourage travel in both directions, knowing Canadians’ taste for our country, while creating an alternative for Costa Ricans who want to visit North America.”

“This is a further opportunity to grow the number of visits, generate employment and continue strengthening Costa Rica as a tourist destination,” said María Amalia Revelo, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism.

The experience between Vancouver and Costa Rica
We are operating flights between Vancouver and Costa Rica using our brand-new A321neoLR, the aircraft with the lowest fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (CO2 and NOx) emissions in its class. Passengers will enjoy an entirely redesigned cabin interior offering more personal space along with seats equipped with a state-of-the-art entertainment system and USB ports to charge electronic devices. For an unparalleled inflight experience, passengers can opt for the Club Class, an exclusive cabin with larger seats that are even more ergonomic and have a leg rest for maximum comfort. Plus, the Gourmet menu by Chef Daniel Vézina is offered for free in Club Class. In Economy Class, the menu is available for pre-order: breakfast options are $18, while the lunch/dinner dishes are $25.

Transat A.T. Inc. – Results for fourth quarter 2019

Provided by Transat A.T. Inc/CNW

Fourth quarter and annual results are up;
Acquisition of the Corporation is pending regulatory approvals

For the fourth quarter:

  • Revenues of $693.2 million.
  • Adjusted operating income1 of $50.9 million (Operating income of $23.5 million).*
  • Adjusted net income3 of $27.2 million (Net income attributable to shareholders of $20.3 million).*                                                

For the year:

  • Revenues of $2.9 billion.
  • Adjusted operating income1 of $38.0 million (Operating loss of $49.8 million)*
  • Adjusted net loss3 of $9.4 million (Net loss attributable to shareholders of $33.2 million).*

Transaction with Air Canada:

  • Transaction expected to close by the second quarter of the 2020 calendar year if the required regulatory approvals are obtained and conditions are met.
  • Approval process underway in the relevant jurisdictions, particularly Canada and Europe

MONTRÉAL, Dec. 12, 2019 /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 fourth quarter ended October 31, 2019.

“We’re working to obtain the required approvals to complete our transaction, while focusing significant efforts on serving our customers and improving our results,” stated Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. “I salute our employees’ professionalism which has allowed us to achieve these last two objectives this year.”

_______________________________
* NOTE: Figures in parentheses and not designated as adjusted on this page refer to IFRS financial measures for the current year.

Fourth-Quarter Highlights

The Corporation posted revenues of $693.2 million for the quarter, up $24.4 million (3.6%) compared with 2018. This increase resulted from higher average selling prices across all programs, as well as growth in ancillary revenues.

Operations generated adjusted operating income of $23.5 million, compared with $6.9 million in 2018, an improvement of $16.6 million. The increase in operating income resulted primarily from higher average selling prices across all programs, and growth in ancillary revenues, partially offset by the costs associated with the transaction with Air Canada and by higher aircraft maintenance costs due to a larger number of maintenance events than last year. Adjusted operating income1 amounted to $50.9 million, compared with $31.5 million in 2018, an improvement of $19.4 million.

Net income attributable to shareholders amounted to $20.3 million ($0.54 per share, basic and diluted) compared with $6.8 million ($0.18 per share, basic and diluted) in 2018. Net income attributable to shareholders included expenses of $10.1 million recorded in connection with the transaction with Air Canada. Before non-operating items, Transat reported adjusted net income3 of $27.2 million ($0.72 per share) for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with $13.7 million ($0.36 per share) in 2018.

Highlights for the year

The Corporation recognized revenues of $2.9 billion, up $88.2 million or 3.1% from 2018. During winter, higher revenues were partially offset by a greater proportion of flight-only sales, which generate lower revenue per unit than packages. During the summer season, revenues were $58.7 million higher than in 2018. The higher revenues were driven primarily by the increase in average selling prices and load factors across all programs, as well as growth in ancillary revenues.

The Corporation recognized an operating loss for the winter season amounting to $65.7 million (4.2%) compared with $46.7 million (3.1%) in 2018. The increase in operating loss resulted primarily from the increase in fuel prices, combined with the weakening of the dollar against the U.S. dollar and from the additional costs incurred for the transition and optimization of the Corporation’s fleet, which in total exceeded the increase in the average selling prices of packages.

During the summer, operating income totalled $15.9 million (1.1%) compared with an operating loss of $3.9 million (0.3%) for the previous year. The improvement in operating income was driven by higher average selling prices and load factors across all programs, and growth in ancillary revenues. The increase in operating income was partially offset by the costs associated with the transaction with Air Canada, amounting to $23.9 million, and by higher aircraft maintenance costs due to a larger number of maintenance events than last year.

For the year, operations resulted in an adjusted operating income1 of $38.0 million compared with $17.2 million in 2018, an increase of $20.8 million. This increase resulted from the higher adjusted operating income1 during the summer season, partially offset by the increase in adjusted operating loss1 for the winter season.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $33.2 million or $0.88 per share (basic and diluted) compared with net income of $6.5 million or $0.17 per share (basic and diluted) for the previous year. Net income for 2019 included after tax expenses of $17.5 million related to the transaction with Air Canada, while net income for 2018 included a $31.3 million gain on the sale of the Corporation’s subsidiary Jonview. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss3 of $9.4 million ($0.25 per share) for the period ended October 31, 2019, compared with $24.0 million ($0.64 per share) in 2018.

Financial Position

As at October 31, 2019, cash and cash equivalents totalled $564.8 million compared with $593.7 million as at October 31, 2018. This change resulted primarily from the purchase of a replacement engine for the Airbus A321neo LR fleet ($16.8 million), from the purchase of land in Mexico ($15.8 million), from the change in the calculation of cash and cash equivalents to be held in trust following the adoption of the new revenue recognition standard IFRS 15 ($14.4 million), from professional fees related to the transaction with Air Canada ($10.3 million) and from the settlement of a litigation in the courts of the state of New York ($6.7 million), partially offset by positive cash flows generated by operations.

The working-capital ratio was 1.23, compared with 1.33 as at October 31, 2018.

Deposits from customers for future travel amounted to $561.4 million, compared with $517.4 million as at October 31, 2018.

Off-balance-sheet agreements, excluding contracts with service providers, stood at $2.2 billion as at October 31, 2019, compared with $2.5 billion as at October 31, 2018. This $296.6 million decrease resulted mainly from repayments made during the year, combined with a decrease in estimated future rent payments for the Airbus A321neo LRs to be added to the fleet by 2022 due to lower long-term interest rates.

IFRS update

On November 1, 2018, the Corporation adopted IFRS 9, Financial Instruments, and IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. The 2018 comparative figures have been restated to reflect these changes.

In short, the adoption of these standards resulted in a $2.6 million increase in shareholders’ equity as at October 31, 2017. For the year ended October 31, 2018, the adoption of these standards resulted in an increase in net income attributable to shareholders of $7.6 million. The main changes related to the adoption of IFRS 9 and IFRS 15 are described in note 4 to the consolidated financial statements for the year ended October 31, 2019.

Future Changes in Accounting Policies

IFRS 16, Leases introduces a single lessee accounting model under which most of lease-related assets and liabilities are recognized in the statement of financial position. The application of IFRS 16 is mandatory and will be effective for the Corporation’s annual reporting period beginning on November 1, 2019.

Considering that the Corporation is committed under numerous operating leases, the adoption of IFRS 16 will have a significant impact on its consolidated financial statements. The Corporation will be required to recognize a right-of-use asset and a liability at the present value of future lease payments. Amortization of the right-of-use asset and interest expense on the lease obligation will replace rent expense related to operating leases.

As at October 31, 2019, the Corporation operated 31 aircraft under operating leases for which right-of-use assets and lease obligations will be recognized upon application of IFRS 16; these aircraft are part of the permanent fleet.

For the permanent fleet, right-of-use assets will be broken down and eligible maintenance costs will be capitalized and depreciated over the shorter of the lease term or expected useful life. In addition, eligible maintenance costs over the lease term will be capitalized and depreciated over the shorter of the lease term or expected useful life. As a result, the maintenance expense of leased aircraft will decrease and the depreciation expense will increase following the adoption of IFRS 16. The Corporation will also recognize a provision for the return conditions of leased aircraft and engines upon application of IFRS 16.

All aircraft-related operating leases are denominated in U.S. dollars. The lease obligation in respect of leased aircraft and the provision for return conditions are denominated in U.S. dollars and must be revalued at the prevailing exchange rate as at the reporting date. Accordingly, the volatility of the foreign exchange gain (loss) recognized in the consolidated statements of income (loss) will be higher on the application of IFRS 16.

The Corporation is party to real estate leases, in particular for spaces in airports, offices and travel agencies. Right-of-use assets and lease obligations will be recognized upon application of IFRS 16 in respect of such leases, except for short-term leases and leases that include a substantial right of substitution.

Outlook

Winter 2020 – In the sun destinations program, the Corporation’s main program for the period, Transat’s capacity is higher by 6.7%. To date, 56% of that capacity has been sold, bookings are ahead by 13.1%, and load factors are 3.4% higher compared with 2019. The impact of fluctuations in the Canadian dollar, combined with decreased fuel costs, will result in a nil increase in operating expenses if the dollar against the U.S. dollar and aircraft fuel prices remain stable. Margins are currently at slightly higher levels compared with the same date last year.

In the transatlantic program, where it is low season, load factors are tracking 1.6% higher than last winter. Prices are currently up 4.2% from the same date last year.

If the current trends hold, the Corporation expects its results for the winter season to be slightly higher than those of last year.

Discussions relating to the sale of the Corporation

On June 27, 2019, the Corporation announced that it had concluded a definitive arrangement agreement that provides for Air Canada’s acquisition of all issued and outstanding shares of Transat and its combination with Air Canada.

On August 23, 2019, a significant majority of the Corporation’s shareholders voted in favour of the special resolution approving the plan of arrangement entered into on June 27 pursuant to which Air Canada will acquire all of the issued and outstanding Class A variable voting shares and Class B voting shares of Transat for a cash consideration of $18.00 per share.

On August 29, 2019, the Corporation announced that the Superior Court of Quebec issued a final order approving the plan of arrangement with Air Canada. The arrangement remains subject to certain customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, particularly those of Canada and the European Union. Notably, a public interest assessment regarding the arrangement is being undertaken by Transport Canada with input from the Commissioner of Competition. If the required regulatory approvals are obtained and conditions are met, it is expected that the transaction will close by the second quarter of the 2020 calendar year.

The management information circular dated July 19, 2019 contains additional information regarding the arrangement.

The Corporation has agreed to limit its undertakings and expenses related to the execution of its hotel strategy in the period leading up to the closing of the transaction with Air Canada.