Transat AT Inc. said it plans to resume flights and tour operations starting on July 23 after grounding its aircraft earlier this year due to the pandemic and resulting border closures.
The flights, which amount to less than 20 per cent of typical summer capacity, are largely dependent on governments opening borders and lifting travel quarantine requirements.
The Montreal-based tour company that owns Air Transat said Thursday it will begin a gradual resumption of operations with plans for 23 international routes over the summer as well as some domestic operations.
Annick Guerard, Transat’s operating chief, said she is confident a “decent number” of customers will want to fly in the coming months, noting there have been more bookings than cancellations lately.
She conceded much of the travel outlined on Thursday is restricted by closed borders and quarantines upon returning, including to Canada. The schedule depends on governments relaxing those rules, she told analysts on a conference call on Thursday.
“If the borders do not open we will have to cancel our plans, Ms. Guerard said.
Transat, which is in the process of being acquired by Air Canada, has suspended all of its flights since April 1.
The announcement of the plan to resume flying came as Transat reported a loss of $179.5 million or $4.76 per diluted share in the quarter ended April 30 compared with a loss of $939,000 or two cents per diluted share a year ago.
Revenue in what was the company’s second quarter fell to $571.3 million compared with $897.4 million in the same quarter last year.
On an adjusted basis, Transat says it lost $38.8 million or $1.03 per share for the quarter compared with an adjusted loss of $6.4 million or 17 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.
Air Canada’s deal to buy Transat for $720 million has been agreed to by shareholders, but still requires regulatory approval in Canada and the European Union.
Last month, European regulators launched an in-depth investigation into the deal amid European Commission concerns it may reduce competition and result in higher prices.
A preliminary European Commission investigation worried the proposed deal could significantly reduce competition on 33 origin and destination city pairs between Europe and Canada.
These include 29 where both companies offer direct services and four where one company flies direct and the other one indirect via one of its hubs.
With files from Eric Atkins
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