“Leisure travel is for sure in the DNA of Air Transat, but we focus also on small(er) companies that like to go for the “best buy”, explains Lydia Morinaux, chairwoman of Air Consultants France and General Manager Air Transat for France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
What are the USP’s of Air Transat on the competitive transatlantic market?
“Air Transat is the only airline to offer directs flights to Canada from more than 25 cities in Europe. Since 2016, we offer domestic flights that give Belgians customers the possibility to fly to Québec, Toronto and Vancouver (via Montréal), giving them more opportunities to discover Canada from East to West. And this year, the capacity on domestic flight has doubled.
Productwise, we did introduce new cabins that offer comfortable leather seats, video on demand, mood lightening to reduce jetlag effects and friendly and attentive staff. With Option Plus and Club Class, we offer affordable services allowing passenger to improve their flight experience.
We also realised a new partnership with the Canadian Chef Daniel Vézina, who just created 6 gastronomic meals offered for free to our Club class passengers and available on demand to our economy class passenger (CAD25).
Recently, Air Transat was recognized as the second best leisure airline in the world at the Skytrax World Airline Awards, making it the best leisure airline in North America for the sixth consecutive year. Every year, travellers from around the world take part in the largest airline passenger satisfaction survey, a global benchmark of airline excellence, to determine the winners.
Recently, we were named n°5 airline at the AirHelp global ranking. AirHelp Score compares each airline with three different criteria to inform passengers how they perform against their competition. They provide statistics on the quality of amenities, on-time arrivals, and how well they resolve flight delay compensation claims.
Besides that, we are an airline with a heart for their customers and our planet, always looking for more sustainable developments within the aviation industry”.
What are the first results of the online check-in possibility with departure out of Brussels?
“As Air Transat was quite late in offering this service out of Brussels, passengers were waiting for it so it, for sure, is a big success”.
In which business lounge can Club Class passengers stay at Brussels Airport, and do you offer fast lane possibility?
“Air Transat does not offer any dedicated lounge yet to its Club Class passengers. Passengers always have the choice to use and pay for the airport lounge. We offer fast lane possibility to our Option Plus and Club Class passengers in Montréal and Vancouver”.
Is the train ticket (Thalys or TGV) included in the airfare for passengers willing to depart from Amsterdam and/or Paris?
“Not yet but we are working on a project with the SNCF right now.
That way, we will be able to extend our services to year round flight to Canada ex-BRU or departing from one of the airports in France”.
Will the on-board product be subject to more new initiatives, like for example the mentionned recent collaboration with chef Daniel Vézina?
“Air Transat is always working on new initiatives. We are currently working on revamping our Kids Club offer”.
Will Air Transat join an airline alliance in the future, and/or who are your main important interline partners?
“No alliance is planned at this moment. We are currently working with some airlines to get interline agreements but it is too early to confirm anything”.
What are the plans for new aircraft types in the future?
“As you know, Air Transat is flying with Airbus (A330 and A310) and Boeing (737) for its domestic or south flights. The A310 Airbuses will need to leave the fleet soon. We are working now to find a middle capacity plane to replace it that would also allow us to deserve some cities of western Europe from Canada. The choice has not been made yet”.
How do you see the role of the travel agents in the global sales mix?
“Travel agencies are still representing a big part of our sales, they are important partners”.
Will you organise events for the Belgian trade in function of the 30th anniversary of the company?
In which direction will Air Transat develop in the future? Hybrid model, more business related airline, or main accent on leisure travel?
“The leisure travel is for sure in the DNA of Air Transat. That said, the improvements decided by Air Transat those past years (new cabin, VOD, more flexible fares, Daniel Vézina meals…) are now allowing us to get some business passengers. We are talking here about small companies that are looking for the “best buy”.