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COVID-19: Air Transat to 'gradually' suspend flights, temporarily lay off staff
MONTREAL -- Transat A.T. Inc. announced Wednesday it plans to "gradually suspend" Air Transat flights until April 30 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes after the Canadian government announced it would be closing its borders to most foreign nationals.
"This is an unprecedented situation, beyond our control, which is forcing us to briefly suspend all of our flights to contribute to the effort to fight the pandemic, protect our customers and employees and safeguard the company," said Transat president and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache. "We are doing everything we can so that this has as little impact as possible on our employees and customers."
The company states all sales for departures to-and-from most destinations in Europe and the United States will be immediately suspended until April 30.
However, repatriation flights will operate over the next two weeks to bring people home.
"To allow as many repatriations as possible, sales will remain temporarily open in both directions between Montreal, Paris and Lisbon, and between Toronto, London and Lisbon," Air Transat officials stated. "A date for a full halt of operations will be announced soon."
There will also be no sales to-and-from the Caribbean and Mexico, but flights will continue for a few more days in order to bring people back to Canada.
"Transat is advising its Canadian customers who were scheduled to depart in the coming days to heed the government’s recommendations and postpone their departures," the company notes. "There will be no booking fee and passengers will not have to pay any price difference. It is of the utmost importance to Transat to bring everyone back."
For anyone flying domestic, Air Transat is asking people to check the status of their flights on its website.
Transat A.T. Inc. states it also plans to temporarily lay off some of its staff, leading to a reduction in work schedules and salaries that will "unfortunately affect a significant portion of our employees."
The company notes its senior executives and board members are also planning to take pay cuts.
All customers who are now unable to travel because their flight is cancelled will receive a credit for future travel, to be used within 24 months of the original travel date.