Transat A.T. Inc. is restructuring its fleet of planes, including plans to add five new Boeing 737s, in what the travel company says will give its Air Transat division more flexibility and end its current agreement with CanJet Airlines in April next year.
The Montreal company said Wednesday that it will eventually lease five, narrow-body 737s for sun destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Florida, plus have use of six seasonal aircraft from another airline for the winter season. This will mean no longer relying on using planes from CanJet Airlines, with which it has partnered since 2009.
However, Transat indicated in a press statement Wednesday that it is leaving the door open with CanJet and wants to continue to partner in possibly some new way. "Transat should maintain its business relationship with its current partner, CanJet Airlines, beyond April 30, 2014 for certain flights. This strategy aims to ensure a so-called 'accordion' fleet that meets the needs of the tourism market," Transat said.
The five 737s permanently operated by Transat will come from commercial aircraft leasers, while the six additional winter season planes will come from another airline. Transat spokeswoman Debbie Cabana said that the company is still in negotiations for these planes.
By relying less on third-party partnerships with the acquisition of the narrow-body, medium-haul 737s, Transat said it will save $8-million this year, $15-million in 2014 and $30-million in 2015.
"Internalizing medium-haul operations has several advantages, including increasing control over our aviation operations, the implementation of a more competitive cost structure and having Air Transat cabin crews on all our flights," said the company's president and chief executive officer, Jean-Marc Eustache.
In addition, Air Transat will be making adjustments to its wide-body fleet of Airbus A310s and A330s. Those planes will continue to serve trans-Atlantic routes to Europe and will also be used for some sun destinations too in the winter. However, the company plans to reduce its number of wide-body planes in the years to come and may fill that void if needed by using third-party planes during the high-travel summer season to Europe.
By 2015, after these adjustments are made, Air Transat plans to have 21 permanent aircraft: 5 Boeing 737s, 10 Airbus A330s and 6 Airbus A310s. Currently its permanent fleet consists of only 12 A330s and 9 A310s, according to Transat's Ms. Cabana.
Editor's note: An earlier online version of this story incorrectly stated that Transat and CanJet Airlines have partnered since 2003. This online version has been corrected.