Transat Bullish For Europe 2016

with Nina Slawek

itravel2000’s Nick Polifemi, TTAND’s Penny Martin & Dave Paterson of itravel2000

Transat’s Denise Heffron with Skyway’s Aris Sidaretos

Lindsay Pearlman, Ensemble Travel Group; Sandra Lombardi, Red Tag; Mary Santonato, Transat

At a recent Transat cocktail reception in tony Yorkville, Nicole Bursey, Commercial Director Transat Tours, began the summer 2016 overview by reminding owners and managers of many of Canada’s largest retailers that Europe 2015 was the best in Transat’s history. Indeed, the company posted operating income of $133.2 million compared with $123.8 million in 2014.

Transat is building on that success with an even more aggressive summer program with more destinations, more flights and a greater emphasis on land components. The latter, according to Bursey, having seen double digit increases in 2015.

This year, Transat is offering 314 holiday packages with everything from France’s Loire Valley, to the Douro wine country in Portugal as well as cycling packages in partnership with Vélo Québec.

Following the introduction of service to Prague and Budapest in recent years, summer 2016’s star destination for TS is Zagreb. The Croatian capital gained some notoriety last summer with SkyService’s failed initiative but is back in the limelight to “round out Transat’s central Europe offerings”, according to Bursey. It will be served by direct flights out of YUL, YQB, YYZ, YYC and YVR.

Also new are flights to Glasgow from YUL and Rome from YVR. In addition, connector flights within Canada have been increased to give more access to the transatlantic sched.

Packaged cruising is on the menu this summer as are guided coach tours, which Transat has been developing over the last few years and has increased to 80 for this summer.

With the planned increases in frequency and routes, I’m reminded of the Jean-Marc Eustache’s response to a question about capacity during a December call with financial analysts.   Asked whether he was worried about next summer's transatlantic market with big capacity growth from both AC and WS, Eustache just laughed.  

"If I worried about stuff like that I'd be in a cemetery. I've seen it all in 38 years."

Here’s to hoping the low loonie doesn’t turn that smile upside down.

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