Category Archives: Air Transat

Air Transat inaugurates seasonal Vancouver – Quebec City service

Air Transat celebrated 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.)

On the morning of August 2, 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).

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.

Air Transat resumes flights today

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: MontrealPunta CanaPunta CanaMontreal and MontrealVancouver. These flights kick off the airline’s summer program, which will include, at the height of the season, 24 routes to 16 destinations in Canadathe United States, the South and Europe.

Air Transat crew at Montreal airport today (CNW Group/Transat A.T. Inc.)

To meet the sustained demand from travelers wishing to uncover more of their Canada this summer, Air Transat offers an extensive program of domestic flights between CalgaryMontrealQuebec CityToronto 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 MontrealToronto 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).

Travelers 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/Hollywood and Orlando).

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

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.

Air Transat to operate to nearly 50 destinations this winter, adds Miami and Fort Myers

Air Transat Airbus A321-211 WL C-FTXU (msn 6114) YVR (Rob Rindt). Image: 949238.

Air Transat has announced its winter 2021-22 flight program.

Starting November 1, the airline will offer flights to nearly 50 destinations throughout the CaribbeanMexico, Central and South Americathe United States and Europe.

This program also features two new destinations in Florida—Miami and Fort Myers, with direct flights from Montreal—in addition to flights already scheduled for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Starting in December 2021, Air Transat will fly to Miami four times a week, and to Fort Myers twice a week.

Flights to three continents this winter

To quench Canadians’ wanderlust, direct flights will be offered from eight Canadian cities: MontrealQuebec CityTorontoOttawaHamiltonLondonHalifax and Moncton.

From Montreal, Air Transat will operate direct flights to ColombiaCosta RicaCuba, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Martinique, Panama, Puerto RicoSt. MaartenEl Salvador and the United States.

Travelers from Toronto will be able to fly direct to ColombiaCosta RicaCuba, the Dominican RepublicHondurasJamaicaMexicoPanamaSt. Maarten and the United States.

From Quebec City, seven sunny destinations will be accessible by direct flight to Cubathe United StatesMexico and the Dominican Republic.

And lastly, to allow Canadians to travel across their country and to increase connecting opportunities to international destinations, Air Transat will also operate domestic flights between MontrealQuebec CityToronto and Vancouver.

As for Europe, Air Transat will gradually offer direct flights from Montreal to FrancePortugalSpain and Italy. There will also be direct flights from Toronto to the United KingdomPortugalthe NetherlandsIreland and Italy, and from Quebec City to France.

Top Copyright Photo: Air Transat Airbus A321-211 WL C-FTXU (msn 6114) YVR (Rob Rindt). Image: 949238.

Air Transat aircraft slide show:

Transat secures $700 million in funding from the Government of Canada

Air Transat Airbus A321-211 WL C-FTXU (msn 6114) YVR (Rob Rindt). Image: 949238.

Transat A.T. Inc. (the parent of Air Transat) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Government of Canada to borrow up to $700 million in additional liquidity through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF).

“The agreement reached with the Government of Canada provides us with an additional $700 million in liquidity, which is the amount we needed to move forward with confidence. Our strong balance sheet prior to the pandemic and the aggressive actions we have taken since have enabled us to weather this unprecedented crisis so far. With this support, we now look forward to resuming operations as soon as safe travel is possible and travel restrictions can be lifted. We will then be able to implement our plan to make Transat a solid and profitable company once again, one that will continue to symbolize leisure travel for its many customers in Quebec and elsewhere,” declared Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer.

“The funds obtained will also enable us to reimburse our customers whose travel had to be cancelled due to the pandemic under conditions that are sustainable for the company, which we welcome.”

The new fully repayable credit facilities made available by the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation under the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, which Transat would use only on an as-needed basis, are as follows:

  • An amount of $390 million, representing the liquidity needed to support Transat until its business has recovered to a level where it can generate cash once again, broken down as follows:
    • An amount of $78 million in the form of a non-revolving and secured credit facility bearing interest at CDOR (Canadian Dollar Offered Rate) plus 4.5% and maturing in 2 years; the facility is secured by a first-ranking charge on the assets of Transat A.T. Inc.
    • A $312 million non-revolving and unsecured credit facility with a 5-year maturity, loaned at a rate of 5% in the first year, increasing to 8% in the second year, and by 2% per annum thereafter, with the possibility of capitalization of interest in the first two years.
    • In the context of the financing arrangement, Transat issued a total of 13,000,000 warrants for the purchase of an equivalent number of shares of Transat (subject to certain limitations described below), with customary adjustment provisions, at an exercise price of $4.50 per share (representing the volume-weighted average trading price for the five trading days preceding the issuance of the warrants) over a 10-year period, representing 18.75% of the total commitment available under the above non-revolving and unsecured credit facility. The warrants are to vest in proportion to the drawings that will be made, and 50% would be forfeited if the loan were to be repaid in full in the first year.
  • An amount of $310 million consisting of an unsecured credit facility to provide reimbursement to travelers who were scheduled to depart on or after February 1, 2020, for whom a travel credit was issued as a result of COVID–19. This amount is repayable over a 7-year term and is loaned at the current 7-year Canada Bond rate of 1.2%.

The number of shares issuable upon exercise of the warrants may not exceed 25% of the current number of issued and outstanding shares, nor may it result in the holder owning 20% or more of the outstanding shares upon exercise of the warrants. In the event of an exercise of warrants that surpasses these thresholds, the excess will be payable in cash on the basis of the difference between the market price of Transat’s shares and the exercise price. Finally, in the event that the credit facility is repaid in full by its maturity, Transat will have the right to redeem all of the warrants for a consideration equal to their fair market value. The warrants will not be transferable prior to the expiry of the period giving rise to the exercise of such redemption right. In addition, the holder of the warrants will benefit from registration rights to facilitate the sale of the underlying shares and the warrants themselves (once the transfer restriction has been lifted).

In connection with the establishment of these credit facilities, Transat has made certain commitments, including:

  • The reimbursement of travelers who were scheduled to depart on or after February 1, 2020, to whom a travel credit has been issued due to COVID-19. Refunds will begin immediately, with terms to be communicated separately. As per the agreement, to be eligible, customers will need to expressly indicate their desire for a refund;
  • Restrictions on dividends, stock repurchases and executive compensation;
  • Maintaining active employment at the level of April 28, 2021.

In addition to the new funding, the amounts already drawn on the existing facilities will remain in place and will be extended for a period of two years from the implementation of the new financing. The ratios applicable to the existing facilities will be suspended for a period of 18 months. The undrawn credit under the short-term subordinated facility will be cancelled.

In total, the available financing will therefore represent a maximum of $820 million. This includes the newly issued LEEFF funding, as well as existing funding of $120 million divided into $50 millionunder the secured revolving credit facility with National Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia and $70 million under the subordinated credit facility with National Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

If all of the available facilities were to be used, it would be at an average rate of approximately 6%, plus the warrants.

Top Copyright Photo: Air Transat Airbus A321-211 WL C-FTXU (msn 6114) YVR (Rob Rindt). Image: 949238.

Air Transat aircraft slide show:

Air Canada and Transat A.T. Inc. agree to terminate arrangement agreement

Air Canada and Transat A.T. Inc. (Air Transat) announced today that they have mutually agreed to terminate the Arrangement Agreement for the proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada.

Air Canada and Transat had originally agreed in June 2019 on the acquisition, the terms of which were subsequently amended in August 2019 and then revised in October 2020 as a result of the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously disclosed, the acquisition was conditional on the approval of various regulatory authorities, including the European Commission (“EC”). In order to meet that key condition, Air Canada offered and enhanced a significant package of remedies, which went beyond the commercially reasonable efforts required of Air Canada under the Arrangement Agreement and what has been traditionally accepted by the EC in previous airline merger cases. Following recent discussions with the EC, it has become evident, however, that the EC will not approve the acquisition based on the currently offered remedy package.

After careful consideration, Air Canada has concluded that providing additional, onerous remedies, which may still not secure an EC approval, would significantly compromise Air Canada’s ability to compete internationally, negatively impacting customers, other stakeholders and future prospects as it recovers and rebuilds from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially in this challenging environment, it is essential that Air Canada focus on creating the optimal conditions for its full recovery by preserving and leveraging all of its key strengths and assets including its strong employee culture.

Both Air Canada and Transat have agreed to terminate the Arrangement Agreement with Air Canada paying Transat a termination fee of $12.5 million, and with Transat no longer under any obligation to pay Air Canada any fee should Transat be involved in another acquisition or similar transaction in the future.

Transat announces approval of its arrangement with Air Canada by Canadian authorities

Transat A.T. Inc. (Air Transat) issued this statement:

Transat A.T. Inc. has announced that the Canadian government has approved the arrangement with Air Canada contemplated under the revised arrangement agreement between Transat and Air Canada dated October 9, 2020.

This authorization is subject to the implementation of significant undertakings agreed to by Air Canada, the object of which is firstly to ensure effective competition, and secondly to ensure public interest benefits (including maintaining a Transat head office in Québec, the preservation of jobs and the Transat brand, and the launch of new routes).

With the approval of Canadian authorities now in hand, the other significant regulatory approval remaining to allow the parties to consummate the Arrangement is the approval of the European Commission. Given the time required for the Commission to review the last additional information requested, the review period has been extended and a decision of the Commission is now expected to be rendered in the first half of 2021.

Transat will discuss with Air Canada the appropriateness of extending the outside date for the consummation of the Arrangement under the Arrangement Agreement, which is currently set at February 15, 2021. After this date, if it is not extended, the Arrangement Agreement will remain in effect, unless terminated by one of the parties.

“We are currently working on adjusting all of the deadlines, including our financing agreements, in order to align them with the anticipated completion of the Commission’s review process” commented Mr. Jean-Yves Leblanc, Chair of the special committee of the Board of Directors of Transat.

 

Government of Canada approves proposed purchase of Transat A.T. Inc. by Air Canada

Transport Canada issued this statement:

Air travel is essential to Canada’s economic growth and prosperity. Travellers and businesses alike benefit from a safe, efficient and resilient air industry.

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, today announced that the Government of Canada has approved the proposed purchase of Transat A.T. Inc. by Air Canada, subject to strict terms and conditions that are in the interests of Canadians.

In determining the proposed purchase is in the public interest, the Government of Canada considered a broad range of factors, such as level of service, wider social and economic implications, the financial health of the air transportation sector, and competition.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a key factor in the final decision. As Transat A.T. itself noted in December 2020, current uncertainty casts doubt on its ability to continue, as it faces significant financing challenges. Noting the effects of the pandemic on air service in general, and on Transat A.T. in particular, the Government of Canada has determined that the proposed acquisition offers the best probable outcomes for workers, for Canadians seeking service and choice in leisure travel to Europe, and for other Canadian industries that rely on air transport, particularly aerospace.

The public interest assessment conducted by Transport Canada was complex, and necessitated a rigorous analysis and consultation with Canadians and stakeholder groups.  Online public consultations ran from November 4, 2019, to January 17, 2020. The public interest assessment also included input from the Canadian Commissioner of Competition, who looked at how the proposed purchase would affect competition in the air sector; and his report was published in March 2020. Transport Canada completed the public interest assessment in May 2020.

This proposed acquisition, which was endorsed by Transat A.T.’s shareholders on December 15, 2020, provides clarity and stability with regard to the company’s future, despite the effects of the pandemic. It will also result in enforceable terms and conditions intended to facilitate future connectivity and competition on routes to Europe previously operated by Transat A.T. These terms and conditions reflect extensive engagement with Air Canada and Transat A.T. regarding measures they were prepared to undertake to address issues raised by the public interest assessment.

The Government of Canada is aware that some Transat A.T. customers are still waiting for refunds for flights cancelled due to COVID-19. Refunds are an integral part of the negotiations with airlines regarding any assistance plan, and the government will continue to take into account the needs of Transat A.T. customers.

Above and beyond the terms and conditions, Air Canada will have a duty to ensure that, as a subsidiary of Air Canada, Transat A.T. will provide communications and services to the public in both official languages.

The terms and conditions associated with the proposed acquisition include:

  • Measures to facilitate and encourage other airlines to take up former Transat A.T. routes to Europe;
  • Preserving the Transat A.T. head office and brand in Quebec;
  • Employment commitment of 1,500 employees around the new entity’s leisure travel business;
  • Commitment to facilitate aircraft maintenance in Canada, prioritizing contracts in Quebec;
  • A price monitoring mechanism; and
  • Launch and operation of new destinations within the first five years.

As per the legislative process, the final decision rests with the Governor in Council.

Air Transat to shut down until April 30 except for repatriation flights

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.

Air Transat to suspend all flights from Toronto until April 30

Air Transat has announced it will suspend all flights out of Toronto (Pearson), as well as some flights out of Montreal (Trudeau), starting today until at least April 30, 2021 due to falling demand and COVID-19 restrictions.

The suspended routes from Toronto include to Cancun, Mexico; Holguin and Varadero, Cuba; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Porto and Libson, Portugal.

Air Transat aircraft slide show:

Transat announces receipt of final court approval for the transaction with Air Canada

Transat A.T. Inc. (Air Transat) has announced that the Superior Court of Québec has issued a final order approving the previously announced plan of arrangement with Air Canada (the “Arrangement”). The Arrangement was also approved by 91.05% of the votes cast by shareholders present in person or by proxy at the special meeting of Transat held on December 15, 2020.

The Arrangement remains subject to the applicable regulatory approvals such as the approvals under the Canada Transportation Act and the European Union Council Regulation (EC) No. 139/2004, as well as certain customary and other closing conditions.

Further information regarding the Arrangement is provided in the management proxy circular dated November 12, 2020.

Letters of Transmittal and Election Forms

Registered shareholders of Transat wishing to receive the share consideration must return the Letter of Transmittal and Election Form, attached to Transat’s management proxy circular dated November 12, 2020, to AST Trust Company (Canada), acting as the depositary, by 5:00 p.m. (Montréal time) on or before the date that is two business days prior to the date of completion of the Arrangement (the “Election Deadline”). Non-registered shareholders of Transat should carefully follow the instructions of the intermediary holding their Class A variable voting shares or Class B voting shares of Transat (together, the “Shares”) on their behalf. Transat will include notice of the Election Deadline in a press release disseminated over newswire service in Canada at the latest on the business day immediately before the Election Deadline.

Investors who purchase Shares of Transat shortly before the completion of the transaction are advised that they may not have sufficient time in order to submit a duly completed Letter of Transmittal and Election Form by the Election Deadline in respect of such Shares and should consult with their broker, trust company or other intermediary and seek advice from their professional advisers in advance of any such trade.

Air Transat aircraft photo gallery:

Air Transat aircraft slide show: