Canadian airline Air Transat announced the signing of a seven-year agreement with Thomas Cook Group for the exchange of aircraft on a seasonal basis. Thomas Cook will make available every winter to Air Transat, a number of Airbus A321s and will receive at least one Airbus A330-200 in return. This will enable both companies to manage and utilize their fleet more efficiently.
The agreement takes advantage of the different seasonality of the two companies. Air Transat uses smaller aircraft in winter to serve its destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida, and larger aircraft in summer to serve the Trans-Atlantic market.
Thomas Cook uses smaller aircraft in summertime, with destinations around the Mediterranean, and larger wide-body aircraft in the winter to fly to its long-haul destinations like Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
In the past few years, Air Transat has implemented a flexible-fleet model, through agreements with various carriers, enabling it each winter to increase the number of narrow-body aircraft it operates and to reduce the number of wide-body aircraft. For example, in the winter 2016–2017, the Company operated 20 Boeing 737 and 12 Airbus A310 and A330’s while in the summer 2017, it used 7 narrow-body aircraft and 25 wide-body aircraft.
The agreement will see Air Transat’s seasonal 737s replaced by A321s. The third step will be the replacement of the replacement of its 7 core 737s, by A321s. At the same time, Air Transat has extend the leases on many of its A330’s, taking advantage of lower leasing costs and ensuring stability for the years to come.
All of the A321s from the Thomas Cook fleet will be recent aircraft, and will have the same cabin configuration as Air Transat’s coming fleet of A321neo LRs: 199 seats, 12 of which will be Club Class.