Air Transat

Last updated
Air Transat
Air Transat logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedDecember 1986
Commenced operationsNovember 14, 1987
AOC # Canada: 5311 [2]
United States: ATFF123F [3]
Focus cities
Fleet size37 [4] [5]
Destinations 76 [6]
Parent company Transat A.T.
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Revenue Increase2.svg CAN$2.9 billion (2019) [7]
Net income Increase2.svg (CAN$9.4) million (2019) [7]
Total assets Increase2.svg CAN$1.5 billion (2015)
Employees5,100 (2020 pre-CoViD-19) 1,700 (current)

Air Transat is a Canadian airline based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1986, it is the country's third-largest airline, operating scheduled and charter flights, serving 60 destinations in 25 countries. [8] [9] [10] Air Transat is owned and operated by Transat A.T. Inc., having access to a fleet of 34 aircraft. [4]



Early Years (1986-1999)

Air Transat's headquarters, located in Montreal Air Transat HQ.jpg
Air Transat's headquarters, located in Montreal
An Air Transat Airbus A310-300 at Manchester Airport in 2001 C-GFAT 1 A310-304 Air Transat MAN 27AUG01 (7074448381).jpg
An Air Transat Airbus A310-300 at Manchester Airport in 2001

François Legault founded Air Transat with other business partners such as Jean-Marc Eustache, Philippe Sureau, Lina de Cesare, Yvon Lecavalier, and Pierre Ménard. Legault left the company in 1997 with no forewarning after a dispute with business partners, who only found out after the fact. [11] [12]

Air Transat made its inaugural flight on November 14, 1987, travelling from Montreal to Acapulco. Six years later, Air Transat assumed defunct Nationair's maintenance base and aircraft. Today,[ when? ] the company books over 3.5 million passengers a year. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transat A.T. Inc.

Expansion (2000-2018)

On February 13, 2009, Transat A.T. announced a five-year partnership with CanJet. Since 1 May 2009, Transat Tours Canada has chartered CanJet's Boeing 737 aircraft flying from Canadian cities to various destinations. This replaced an agreement with Calgary-based Westjet. [13]

On February 13, 2011, Air Transat Flight TS163 operated with their first all-female flight crew from Cancun to Vancouver. The airline has won many awards, including the 2012, 2018 and 2019 Skytrax World's Best Leisure Airline Awards. [14]

On September 13, 2013, Air Transat struck a seasonal lease deal with Air France-KLM leisure carrier Transavia France, covering the lease of up to nine Boeing 737-800s by 2019. The deal, which extends a 2010 winter capacity agreement, calls for Transavia France to lease four 737-800s to Air Transat during winter 2014, five in 2016, six in 2017, seven in 2018 and eight in 2019. [15]

Although the first two groups of refugees from Syria arrived in Canada on government aircraft in December 2015, the next two groups were on Air Transat aircraft; the first was Flight TS8500 from Amman, Jordan to Toronto which departed on 20 December. While it was unlikely that Air Transat would be the exclusive airline chartered by the Canadian government, especially if more than 35,000 refugees would arrive in 2016 [16] a spokesman advised the Toronto Star that the company had been confirmed as the airline that would bring the second group to Canada on 21 December. [17] In a Transat press release, Jean-François Lemay, the carrier's general manager made the following statement, "We are very pleased to be the first Canadian airline company to engage in this major humanitarian effort, and to be assisting the Canadian government and international authorities in this way." [18]

In May 2017, Air Transat and Flair Air were accused by a CBC News story of misleading customers and regulators in both Canada and Mexico by marketing and selling nonstop tickets between Edmonton and Cancun. CBC uncovered a letter in which the airlines admitted that they would frequently divert for a technical stop to refuel. [19]

Recent developments (2019-present)

In January 2020, Forbes Canada named Air Transat in its list of Best Employers, to 8th place nationally. [20]

Proposed acquisition by Air Canada

On 16 May 2019, Transat AT, the company that owns Air Transat, announced it was in exclusive talks to be purchased by Air Canada. An offer was subsequently made by the latter at C$13 per share and another company, Group Mach, proposed purchase at C$14.

On 27 June 2019, the Board of Transat AT accepted Air Canada's all-cash bid of C$520 million and did not comment on the C$527.6 proposal from Group Mach because the talks with Air Canada were still exclusive. The deal required approval by two-thirds of shareholders; some major investors and some financial analysts stated that the offer is below the true value of the company. Regulatory and governmental approval would be required for sale of Transat AT. A May report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation stated that "regulatory approvals are no sure thing". [21] If the Air Canada purchase is concluded, Air Transat would continue to operate as separate brand. [22] [23] [24]

By mid August, Air Canada increased its offer by nearly 40% to C$18 per share from C$13, valuing the acquisition at C$720 million ($544 million in American Dollars), to obtain backing from Letko Brosseau, Transat AT's largest shareholder with 19% of the company. [25] On 23 August, a 95% majority of Transat's voting shareholders approved the Air Canada proposal at C$18 ($13.53) per share, after the Quebec Administrative Court of Financial Markets rejected the rival bid from Groupe Mach on 12 August. [26] The proposed transaction should be publicly assessed by Transport Canada until 2 May 2020, before the buyout closes. [27] Price per share will be revised to $5 in October 2020. [28]

On 2 April 2021, the deal was dropped following a failure to secure European Commission approval. [29]

COVID-19 pandemic

In January 2021, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions, Air Transat announced it was suspending its regular operations from January 29 to April 30, 2021 and all operations from February 14 to April 30, 2021. [30] On July 23, 2020, Air Transat announced that it would resume its service following an interruption of 112 days. [31] British consumer site MoneySavingExpert named Air Transat as one of the worst performing travel firms for refunding passengers whose flights or trips were cancelled. The CAA said that the airline was refusing to refund passengers whose flights had been cancelled by the airline, [32] which for flights to and from Europe (including the UK) was a breach of Flight Compensation Regulation which requires airlines to refund passengers whose flights are cancelled under any circumstances, even if some of the other compensation requirements are relaxed for circumstances completely outside of the airline's control, such as a global pandemic.


Air Transat specializes in charter flights from 19 Canadian cities to vacation destinations, mainly to 15 countries in the south during winter and in 11 European countries during summer. Also, some destinations are provided all year round by the airline. During the summer season, its main destinations are Europe and in the winter season, the Caribbean, Mexico, the United States and Central America, though the airline operates many year-round flights to Europe from their Toronto and Montreal bases. Its main Canadian gateways are Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport. [33] The airline also has operations at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport among others.


An Air Transat Airbus A330-300 in the current livery Airbus A330-300 C-GCTS - Air Transat - 46740489194.jpg
An Air Transat Airbus A330-300 in the current livery
An Air Transat Airbus A310-300 in the old livery Airbus A310-300 Air Transat (TSC) C-GLAT - MSN 588 (9510329329).jpg
An Air Transat Airbus A310-300 in the old livery
An Air Transat Lockheed L-1011 in the 1995 livery Lockheed 1011 Air Transat C-FTNC CDG June 1995.jpg
An Air Transat Lockheed L-1011 in the 1995 livery

Current fleet

As of May 16,2021, Air Transat has the following 35 aircraft registered with Transport Canada but some are not listed on the Air Transat website: [4] [5]

Air Transat fleet
AircraftIn serviceOrdersPassengersNotes
Airbus A310-300 312238250 [34] Not listed at the Air Transat website as part of the fleet. To be replaced by Airbus A321LR. [35]
Final flight took place on March 31, 2020 but the craft are still registered with Transport Canada. [36] [37]
Airbus A321-200 7190190 [38] [39]
Airbus A321LR 10712187199 [35] [40] Deliveries since 2019. [41] [42] Listed at Air Transat as Airbus A321neoLR [43]
Airbus A330-200 1512333345 [44]
Airbus A330-300 112334346
Boeing 737-700 Unknown8140148 [45] Club Class only available on domestic flights. Not registered with Transport Canada
Boeing 737-800 110179189 [46] Club Class only available on domestic flights

Previously operated

Air Transat has operated several other aircraft types in the past including the following: [47]

Accidents and incidents

Related Research Articles

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Air Transat Flight 236 2001 aircraft incident involving dual engine failure over the Atlantic Ocean resulting in an emergency landing

Air Transat Flight 236 was a transatlantic flight bound for Lisbon, Portugal, from Toronto, Canada, that lost all engine power while flying over the Atlantic Ocean on August 24, 2001. The Airbus A330 ran out of fuel due to a fuel leak caused by improper maintenance. Captain Robert Piché, 48, an experienced glider pilot, and First Officer Dirk de Jager, 28, glided the plane to a successful emergency landing in the Azores, saving all 306 people on board. Most of the passengers on the flight were Canadians visiting Europe or Portuguese expatriates returning to visit family in Portugal. This was also the longest passenger aircraft glide without engines, gliding for nearly 75 miles or 120 km. Following this unusual aviation accident, this aircraft was nicknamed the "Azores Glider"

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