This story was updated on Friday, January 7, 2022, at 12:31 p.m. EST
In response to the rising COVID-19 Omicron variant and Canada’s restrictive travel measures, Air Transat is cancelling nearly 30 per cent of the flights in its network for departures scheduled from Jan. 6 to Feb 25, 2022, PAX has learned.
Transat spokesperson Pierre Tessier confirmed the update with PAX in an email Thursday morning (Jan. 6).
“As you can imagine, the lingering effects of the Omicron variant and the restrictive measures put in place by the federal government on December 15th have had an impact on our customers' reservations and cancellation requests,” Tessier wrote.
Customer cancellations have impacted profitability due to low load factors, Tessier said.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and, depending on how it evolves, we will determine if further adjustments will be necessary on the rest of our winter schedule,” Tessier wrote. “We are aware that this exceptional situation may cause inconvenience to some of our customers. We are contacting those affected by these changes and refunding the full amount of the cancelled trip. Where possible, we offer to rebook or cancel their reservation for a refund.”
“Our customers remain our priority and we do everything in our power to provide them with the best possible service.”
Commissions not protected
PAX has asked Transat to confirm which routes are being affected but did not hear back by press time.
Clients impacted by cancellations will receive a refund to the form of payment on file, Transat has confirmed.
Travel agencies will be notified and "there is no action for them to take in order for us to process the refund."
In a few cases the clients may choose a refund or alternate travel arrangements that will be proposed and travel agency commissions are not protected, the company said.
The news comes after Air Canada Vacations (ACV), yesterday, announced “unavoidable disruptions” to Air Canada’s flight schedule from Jan. 24 to April 30, 2022, resulting in the temporary suspension of 14 sun routes.
ACV's update will impact seven per cent of customers, wrote Nino Montagnese, vice-president of ACV, in a letter to trade partners yesterday.
He said Air Canada will continue to maintain operations to 23 other sun destinations throughout the winter season.
WestJet, too, has announced plans to cut its schedule by about 15 per cent.
This is a developing story.