"Our fleet will eventually consist solely of Airbus aircraft, which will mean a more harmonized travel experience for our customers as well as lower operating costs," says Jean-Marc Eustache, President and CEO
MONTREAL, Oct. 2, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Transat A.T. Inc. is pleased to announce the signing of a seven-year agreement with Thomas Cook Group Airlines for the exchange of aircraft on a seasonal basis. Under the terms of the agreement, Thomas Cook will make available every winter to Air Transat a number of narrow body Airbus A321s and will receive at least one wide-body Airbus A330-200 in return. This will enable both companies to manage and utilize their fleet more efficiently.
The agreement takes advantage of the different seasonality of the two companies: Air Transat uses a greater number of smaller aircraft in winter to serve its destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida, and larger aircraft in summer to serve the transatlantic market. In contrast, Thomas Cook uses smaller aircraft in summertime to fly to destinations around the Mediterranean Sea and larger wide-body aircraft in the winter to fly to the long-haul destinations like Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
In the past few years, Air Transat has implemented a flexible-fleet model, through agreements with various carriers, enabling it each winter to increase the number of narrow-body aircraft it operates and to reduce the number of wide-body aircraft. For example, in the winter 2016–2017, the Company operated 20 narrow-body aircraft (Boeing 737) and 12 wide-body aircraft (Airbus A310 and A330), while in the summer 2017, it used 7 narrow-body aircraft and 25 wide-body aircraft.
"This agreement marks a new step in the reconfiguration of our fleet," says Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. "It allows us to improve our flexible-fleet model, making it even more efficient. Our fleet will eventually consist solely of Airbus A330 and aircraft from the A320 family, such as the A321, which will mean a more harmonized travel experience for our customers as well as lower operating costs,".
Christoph Debus, Chief Airline Officer, Thomas Cook Group, said: "The new partnership provides additional growth opportunities for our airline, and again demonstrates how Thomas Cook Group is transforming through partnerships. By taking advantage of the complementary seasonal demand in North America and Europe, we will be able to operate additional long-haul flights during winter and better balance the seasonal demand for our short and medium-haul aircraft, resulting in more cost efficiency and choice for our customers."
Optimization of the Air Transat flexible fleet began with the recent announcement that its A310s would be replaced, beginning in early 2019, by A321neo LR aircraft, which have a range well-suited for operations in both of the carrier's markets. The agreement announced today is the second step in that optimization, and will see Air Transat's seasonal B737s replaced by A321s. The third step will be the replacement of the B737s in its core fleet, which today number 7, also by A321s. At the same time, Air Transat has endeavoured to extend the leases on a large number of its A330 aircraft, thus taking advantage of lower leasing costs and ensuring stability for the years to come.
All of the A321s from the Thomas Cook fleet will be recent aircraft, and will have the same cabin configuration as Air Transat's coming fleet of A321neo LRs: 199 seats, 12 of which will be Club Class. This means Transat customers will enjoy a more comparable in-flight experience regardless of destination.
In addition, once the optimization is complete, Air Transat will operate only two types of aircraft, and reap the benefits of the Airbus shared-cockpit philosophy and so-called mixed-fleet flying (i.e., pilots can be rated to fly more than one type of aircraft). This will enable the company to reduce costs (for example in maintenance and training) and considerably simplify its operations.
Transat A.T. Inc. is a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel and active in air transportation, accommodation, travel packaging and distribution. It operates mainly in Canada, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean, with some 25 destination countries, and distributes products in over 50 countries. Based in Montreal, the company has 5,000 employees. Transat is firmly committed to sustainable tourism development, as reflected in its multiple corporate responsibility initiatives over the past 10 years, and was awarded Travelife Partner status in 2016. The vacation travel companion par excellence, Transat celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017 (TSX: TRZ).
About Air Transat
Air Transat, a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., is Canada's number one holiday travel airline in the Canadian and transatlantic markets. It also offers domestic and feeder flights out of five Canadian airports. Every year, it carries nearly 4.5 million passengers to approximately 60 destinations in some 25 countries. Based in Montreal, the company employs 3,000 people and operates a fleet of Boeing narrow-body and Airbus wide-body jets.
Recent distinctions and awards
Air Transat named world's second-best leisure airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards (2013–2017) and best in North America in the same category (2012–2017)
Transat named one of the Best Corporate Citizens in Canada by the research firm Corporate Knights (2014–2017)
Air Transat named the number one carrier in North America for energy efficiency by Atmosfair (2011–2016)
Transat ranked among the Top 10 call centres in North America by BenchmarkPortal (2012 and 2015)
Air Transat voted Best Leisure/Charter Airline (2008–2017) and Transat, Best Tour Operator (2014–2017), at the Agent's Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media
Air Transat voted Best Airline (2013–2015) and Transat, Best Tour Operator (2013, 2015 and 2016), at the Trophées Uni-Vers awards organized by the Association des Agents de Voyages du Québec
About Thomas Cook Group Plc
Thomas Cook Group Plc. is one of the world's leading leisure travel groups, with sales of £7.8 billion in the year ended 30 September 2016. Thomas Cook employs 22,000 people and operates from 16 source markets; it is number one or two (by revenue) in all its core markets. Thomas Cook Group plc's shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange (TCG).
About Thomas Cook Group Airlines
The Thomas Cook Group Airlines as part of the Thomas Cook Group Plc. consist of four sun and beach focused leisure airlines: Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Condor Flugdienst. The airlines carry 16.7m passengers per year to more than 160 destinations, generating revenues of £2.8bn. The combined fleet consists of 94 aircraft of which there are 25 relatively new Airbus A321 that joined by 2016. The Thomas Cook Group recently invested 100 million GBP in comfort and new technology of all aircraft. State-of-the-art engine technology and enhanced aerodynamics of the aircraft cut kerosene consumption thus reducing emissions and improving sound protection. More than 9,000 employees work passionately every day to satisfy the customer's needs. Numerous awards highlight this attitude in each of the single airlines.
No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein. This press release includes "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this press release, including statements regarding the prospects of the industry and prospects, plans, financial position and business strategy of the Corporation, may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Canadian securities legislation and regulations. Investors and others are cautioned that undue reliance should not be placed on any forward-looking statements. For more information on the risks, uncertainties and assumptions, please also refer to the Corporation's public filings available at www.sedar.com and www.transat.com. In particular, further details and descriptions of these and other factors are disclosed in the Annual MD&A under the "Risks and uncertainties" section and in the "Risk factors" section of the Corporation's current Annual Information Form. The forward-looking statements in this news release reflect the Corporation's expectations as at January 12, 2015, and are subject to change after this date. The Corporation expressly disclaims any obligation or intention to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by the applicable securities laws.
SOURCE Transat A.T. Inc.
For further information: Media: Transat A.T. Inc., Christophe Hennebelle, Vice-President, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, [email protected], +1 514 987-1660, ext. 4584