Transat issued this statement for Air Transat:
Following the Canadian government’s request not to travel to Mexico and the Caribbean and the imposition of new quarantine and COVID-19 screening measures, Transat A.T. Inc. announces today the complete suspension of all scheduled Air Transat flights until April 30 and the repatriation of its customers to Canada. This operation is expected to take place over the next two weeks.
“We are putting in place the measures requested by the Canadian government, including not travelling to the South. This forces us to temporarily suspend all our flights, including to Europe,” said Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. “We will do everything we can to return our customers back to Canada. We obviously share the government’s objective to protect Canadians from COVID-19, including the new variants, and this is what all of our personnel have been doing in recent months, particularly on board our aircraft, with a comprehensive program of adapted sanitary measures.”
Repatriation flights program
Air Transat will operate several dozen flights over the next two weeks to return its customers to Canada. Transat customers scheduled to return to the country between now and February 13 will keep their original flight, while customers whose flights are cancelled will automatically be redirected to another Air Transat flight. Transat’s priority is to get everyone home.
Until April 30, customers who are unable to travel due to the cancellation of their flight will be refunded in the same method of payment they used for their booking.
Federal government support is crucial
In light of the disastrous situation in which the entire industry finds itself, Transat reiterates the importance for the federal government to put in place the sector-specific financial assistance announced to support its industry and the investments it has made in recent years, not to mention the tens of thousands of workers in the sector who have lost their jobs.
The airline industry is highly competitive, and international carriers from other countries have benefited from significant support measures from their governments since the beginning of the pandemic. This is creating a considerable imbalance that has hurt the competitiveness of Canada’s airlines for months and threatens their survival. Moreover, the entire Canadian economy will be deprived of the vital and strategic contribution of the airline and aeronautics industry when the recovery comes.
From the outset of the pandemic, Transat has implemented a series of measures to safeguard the company and its cash flow, including temporary layoffs affecting 75% of its staff. Unfortunately, the temporary shutdown of operations has resulted in further layoffs of flight crews and support staff.