Transat plans flights to nearly 50 destinations this winter as travel set to resume

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MONTREAL — Air Transat plans to offer flights to nearly 50 cities this winter as Canadians look to resume travelling after the industry came to standstill during the pandemic.

The airline says it will fly to destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the United States and Europe starting Nov. 1.

"We know that our clients are eager to travel, whether it's to visit loved ones or for a change of scenery," said Annick Guérard, President and CEO of Transat in a statement.

"And we are sure to meet this strong, pent-up demand with the rich variety of destinations we are offering this winter.

Transat suspended operations on Jan. 29 after Ottawa requested a suspension of travel to Mexico and the Caribbean as well as the adoption of new quarantine measures and testing requirements.

The company announced earlier this month that it would begin a gradual resumption of flying starting July 30.

Transat's plan for this winter includes two new destinations for the company, which will now offer direct flights from Montreal to Miami and Fort Myers, Fla., starting in December.

Some other destinations include Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The airline is focusing on international departures from three cities: Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto.

Meanwhile, it will also offer connecting domestic flights from Vancouver.

Transat said clients are still eligible for refunds if current situations around the pandemic change and the operator is forced to cancel flights.

Earlier this month, Guérard said the company was optimistic about the future after noticing increased interest in travel, especially after the federal government announced this month that fully vaccinated travellers would no longer have to quarantine on return to Canada.

She said bookings in early June for the winter season were matching pre-pandemic levels similar to 2018 and 2019, although warned for caution around whether that level of activity will hold up since people are booking further ahead than usual.

The airline has also let go of some older aircraft, including Boeing 737s and Airbus A310s, in an effort to consolidate its fleet to newer models of Airbus A330s and A321s that will lower operating costs.

Guérard has said Transat is taking steps to become a leaner company, with more of a focus on an airline business, with less emphasis on tour operating and its services as a travel agency. The company also said it plans to sell off its hotel properties in certain destinations.

Transat's quarterly results for the period ended April 30 reflected the company's lack of operations, with a net loss attributable to shareholders of $69.6 million or $1.84 per diluted share for the quarter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2021.

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The Canadian Press

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