Air Transat

Air Transat
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded December 1986
Commenced operations November 14, 1987
Operating bases
Fleet size 35[2]
Destinations 63[3]
Company slogan Vacation is calling
Parent company Transat A.T. Inc.
Headquarters Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Revenue CAN$3.6 billion (2015)
Net income CAN$42.6 million (2015)
Total assets CAN$1.5 billion (2015)
Employees 5,000 (2016)

Air Transat is a Canadian low-cost[4] leisure airline based in Montreal, Quebec,[5] operating scheduled and charter flights, serving 63 destinations in 30 countries.[3] The airline is owned and operated by Transat A.T. Inc.


Early years

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, the company books over 3.5 million passengers a year. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transat A.T. Inc.

Air Transat is now one of Canada's largest airlines, after Air Canada and WestJet. Air Transat has 5,000 employees.[6] 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 Skytrax World's Best Leisure Airline Award.[7]

2009: CanJet partnership

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.[8]

2013: Transavia France partnership

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.[9]

2015/2016: Transporting Syrian refugees to Canada

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[10] 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.[11] 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."[12]

2017 CBC "Mexican Game" story

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.[13]


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 around by the airline. During the summer season its main destinations are Europe and in the winter season the Caribbean, Mexico, 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, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport.[14] The airline also has operations at Calgary International Airport, Edmonton International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport and others.


Current fleet

As of July 2018, the Air Transat fleet consists of the following aircraft:[2][15]

Air Transat fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A310-300 7 12 238 250 To be replaced by Airbus A321LR.
Airbus A320-200 1 8 172 180 Leased from Condor[16]
Airbus A321-200 2 8 182 190
Airbus A321neo 2[17] TBA 199 Deliveries from 2019.
Airbus A321LR 15[18][17] TBA 199 Deliveries from 2019.
To replace Airbus A310-300.
Airbus A330-200 16 2[19] 12 333 345
Airbus A330-300 4 12 334 346
12 363 375
Boeing 737-800 5 10 179 189
Total 35 19

Previously operated

Air Transat has operated several other aircraft types in the past including the following:[20]

Accidents and incidents

On August 24, 2001, Air Transat Flight 236, an Airbus A330-200, en route from Toronto to Lisbon with 306 crew and passengers, piloted by Captain Robert Piche, made an emergency landing in the Azores without engine power due to fuel starvation over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft safely landed at Lajes Air Base, on Terceira Island. The aircraft was evacuated in 90 seconds. All 306 passengers on board survived. An investigation revealed that the cause of the accident was a fuel leak in the number two engine which was caused by an incorrect part installed in the hydraulics system by Air Transat maintenance staff. The part did not maintain adequate clearance between the hydraulic lines and the fuel line, allowing vibration in the hydraulic lines to degrade the fuel line and cause the leak. The aircraft involved in the incident was repaired and remains in service with Air Transat. The incident went down in history as the longest non-powered flight and landing by a commercial airliner.[21]

On March 6, 2005, Air Transat Flight 961, an Airbus A310-300, en route from Varadero to Québec City with 9 crew and 261 passengers on board, experienced a structural failure in which the rudder detached in flight. The crew returned to Cuba, where they made a safe landing. It has been established that no unusual rudder inputs had been used by the crew during the flight, they were not manipulating the rudder when it failed and there was no obvious fault in the rudder or yaw-damper system. The investigation that followed determined that the manufacturer's inspection procedure for the composite rudder was not adequate. Inspection procedures for composite structures on airliners were changed because of this incident.[22]

On July 18, 2016, Air Transat Flight 725, an Airbus A310-300, en route from Glasgow to Toronto with 250 passengers was grounded overnight following the arrest of pilots Captain Jean-Francois Perreault and Imran Zafar Syed for allegedly preparing to fly under the influence of alcohol. The flight eventually flew under new crew and arrived in Toronto at noon the following day. Both pilots were charged with threatening or abusive behaviour and performing an aviation function while over the legal alcohol limit. Perreault and Syed made no pleas or declarations during their initial hearing on July 19, 2016.[23] Both pilots were suspended from active duty by Air Transat on July 22, 2016.[24]

On July 31, 2017, Air Transat Flight 157, an Airbus A330-200, en route from Brussels to Montreal-Trudeau was diverted to Ottawa due to a chain of storms passing through the Montreal area. More than 300 passengers were kept on the plane without water, electricity, or air conditioning and rationed food for 6 hours. A passenger called 911 due to the deteriorating situation with some passengers complaining of suffocation. Airport authorities responded by delivering water and disembarking passengers including those complaining of suffocation injuries. Air Transat blamed congestion at Ottawa's airport for the situation, where airport administration stated that the pilots asked for no help during the six-hour situation.[25] The event enraged Canadian lawmakers pushing to improve Canada's passenger bill of rights.[26]


  1. "Air Transat Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 2017-11-17.
  2. 1 2 "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result for Air Transat". Transport Canada. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  3. 1 2 "Air Transat | Destinations from Canada". Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  4. Vowles, Timothy M.; Lück, Michael (2016). "Low Cost Carriers in the USA and Canada". In Gross, Sven; Lück, Michael. The Low Cost Carrier Worldwide. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781317025054.
  5. "Contact Us." Air Transat. Retrieved on May 20, 2009. "Postal address: Air Transat 5959 Côte-Vertu Blvd. Montreal, Quebec H4S 2E6 Canada"
  6. "Backgrounders". Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  7. "Air Transat Named World's Best Leisure Airline in 2012". Air Transat. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  8. "Transat A.T. Inc. - Transat and CanJet forge 5-year partnership for narrow-body aircraft". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  9. "Transavia France inks 737-800 deal with Air Transat". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  10. The Associated Press (21 December 2015). "Canada aims to double intake of Syrian refugees to 50,000: McCallum". Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  11. Westoll, Nick (20 December 2015). "Canada may double refugee intake by end of 2016: McCallum". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  12. "Flight TS8500 has now left Amman for Toronto". Transat. Transat A.T. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  13. "The 'Mexican game': How Air Transat misled passengers and aviation officials". CBC News. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  14. "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 67.
  15. Our aircraft
  17. 1 2
  20. Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: History Search Result
  21. A330 'glider' drama facts revealed. Flight International, 26 Oct 2004. Retrieved 5 Jan 2007.
  22. Weakest points. Flight International, 19 July 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  25. "'You can't do this to us': Fuming passengers stuck on planes in Ottawa call 911". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  26. "After Air Transat saga, passenger bill of rights aims to punish airlines into being good". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-02.

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