Jean-Marc Eustache, president and chief executive officer at Transat A.T., has issued a message to travel agents and agencies on the day that Transat resumes its operations.
Dear Travel Consultant, July 23 is, and will remain, a very special day in Transat’s history.
Tonight, after four months of inactivity, we are making our first three international commercial flights — Montreal-Toulouse, Montreal-Paris and Toronto-London — in addition to our three domestic flights — Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Vancouver.
These first departures will certainly be a very emotional moment for the entire Transat team, for me especially.
Our entire reduced summer program, which includes 24 routes to some 20 destinations, will be up and running by August 2.
Just like you, who have had to reduce or stop many of your activities for the past while, we are gradually resuming our air operations 112 days after halting them.
Although this is encouraging, it in no way means the crisis caused by COVID-19 is over.
To put things in perspective, September 11, 2001, was the most significant and transformative event in our industry in the last two decades.
But as astonishing as it may seem today, by September 13, just two days later, we announced the gradual resumption of our flights.
While 9/11 is still very much alive in our minds, the impact of these attacks doesn’t come close to the repercussions of COVID-19, which is shaking up the entire planet — the travel industry first and foremost — and will continue to do so for a few more years to come.
Having said that, the health situation is moving in the right direction in Canada and in most countries, and the travel industry, as you and I well know, is very resilient and has a brighter future ahead of it.
One of the key elements of the recovery is of course our customers’ confidence in travelling safely.
In this regard, our teams have done a meticulous job of reassuring them, rolling out the Traveller Care program, which offers a complete package of health and safety measures for people on the move.
Based on the recommendations of regulatory authorities, the travel experience has been completely revised: from the travel agency, to the airport, on board the aircraft, and all the way to the destination.
The program is accompanied by a comprehensive practical guide that includes, among other information, the requirements of destination countries and airports.
Even though our flight operations were on hold, we felt it was important to stay in touch with travel consultants, especially during the launch of Traveller Care, which was accompanied by webinars designed with you in mind.
We invite you to regularly consult these tools, both of which are available on our website, or refer your customers to them to help them prepare for their trips.
Our teams have worked tirelessly to ensure that we are able to resume our operations today in complete safety for our passengers and staff.
More flexible travel credits
Like all Canadian airlines, we opted for travel credits, given the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While much has been written about these credits, we remain convinced that they are the best way to protect the company and weather this storm. Nevertheless, we remain attentive to our customers and partners, and yesterday we announced a relaxation of this policy.
Therefore, with the exception of the credits granted for cruises, all travel credits attached to a flight, package or guided tour booking are now fully transferable, with no expiry date.
As previously, any residual credit will remain on file. This policy is retroactive and flexible and covers customers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic as well as those who cancelled under our flexibility policy.
We could say that today marks a new takeoff for Transat. Although there will be clouds in our skies for some time to come, we hope that the recovery will be stronger than anticipated, and that together we can once again brighten the everyday for millions of travellers.
In closing, I want to thank you most sincerely for your commitment and professionalism as you continue to provide sound advice to travellers in this very special time.
We firmly believe that together, all of us who are so passionate about travel will be able to ensure Transat’s strong comeback and continued success.
We are counting on your usual cooperation, which is even more important to us today.
With kindest regards,
President and Chief Executive Officer