Organization chart as of February 2015

Organisation chart - February 2015

Transat - Our vertical integration strategy

Tour operators are, first and foremost, buyers of tourism services, which they “assemble” and market in the form of packages. They purchase significant quantities of components in advance and at wholesale prices that are not available on the retail market. This model enables the providers of these services - such as hotels selling accommodation or airlines selling seats - to transfer some of their business risk to a third party (the tour operator), often far in advance of the tourist season. It then becomes the tour operator's responsibility to sell these products, which by definition are “perishable,” on the market because firm commitments have been made.

This method enables suppliers to “secure” their profit margins; however, tour operators continue to face a few risks, such as the possibility of not being able to sell all the inventory, thereby registering a shortfall, even a loss. They also run the risk of running low on inventories and therefore having to relinquish market shares to competitors. Given that it is difficult to change the inventory position and impossible to find the most popular products during the tourist season, they must be very astute in order to be able to gauge demand at least one season in advance. Tour operators must also have a preferential relationship with the best suppliers available. Later on in the process, they will need sales and marketing skills, as well as the ability to manage supply and demand. In brief, the job of the tour operator is both scientific and artistic; it requires instinct and reasoning. It is largely based on the concept of economies of scale: volume offsets modest unit margins.

In theory, tour operators do not need to be asset-rich; rather, they need a good address book and a lot of know-how. The entry barriers are relatively low; the markets are fragmented and the competition is intense.

A vertically integrated tour operator such as Transat is one that is in a position to source its supplies not only from third parties (Transat has thousands of tourism services suppliers, including many airlines), but also from the tourism-related operations it has developed within the Company. Consequently, Transat owns an airline (Air Transat), destination services companies, as well as an interest in a hotel chain. This aspect of vertical integration ensures better control of costs and helps protect profits which would otherwise go into the pockets of third parties. It also helps ensure that we provide our customers with high-quality products and memorable experiences and enables us to be more flexible in an industry where efficiency often makes a significant difference. In short, an integrated tour operator is better equipped to adapt, perform and stand apart.

Distribution is the other aspect of vertical integration. Many tour operators have no control over the retail distribution of their products and find themselves having to depend on partners. Transat has always operated travel agencies. Today, although a majority of its products are still sold by third parties, Transat has approximately 500 wholly owned or franchised travel agencies in Canada and France, as well as a significant Internet presence. In addition to the financial advantages that this structure provides, it creates proximity to the customer, which is very important, and a direct connection with the market.

To be a tour operator, a company must have a solid understanding of consumer expectations, as well as of products and destinations. Transat, for instance, has long been aware that the French, British, Quebecers and Western Canadians have different travel habits in terms of destinations, formulas and seasonal preferences. Tour operators often provide the guidance and ground services needed to reassure many travellers. Their staffers are on hand to greet customers and, in some cases, accompany them on their journey to ensure they connect with other suppliers, and to manage any unforeseen circumstances. They have therefore developed, over time, extensive knowledge of the institutions and the methods used at each destination; they also have relationships, often preferential, with local authorities.

Tour operators serve as distributors/consolidators, who sell services from faraway companies in a given market. In fact, tour operators, which can be described as wholesalers, literally keep the tourism industry moving; they search the world and purchase services that suppliers would otherwise not be able to distribute using their own means in markets that are often distant and fragmented. This is the reason why, once they have the critical mass (and Transat certainly has), partnerships with tour operators are very sought-after by “suppliers.”

Suppliers have therefore understood that there is no comparison between an integrated tour operator and a “regular” airline company… they are two very different worlds. In addition, there are marked differences between an integrated tour operator and one that is not. Other examples of vertically integrated tour operators are TUI Travel Plc and Thomas Cook Group Plc, two of the largest in the world.

Transat in America

Although Transat’s origins date to the late 1970s with student travel agency Tourbec and, later, tour operator Trafic Voyages, it was in 1987 that the company was listed on the stock exchange under the Transat name following an $8.25-million initial public offering.

Transat Tours Canada (TTC) is the group’s main outgoing tour operator, under the Transat, Air Transat, Nolitours and TMR Holidays brands. TTC is actually itself Canada’s largest tour operator, and also oversees the commercial operations of the group’s carrier, Air Transat. TTC offers Canadians year-round travel to sun destinations, including cruises, out of several cities. In order to do this, it relies on myriad commercial partnerships with Caribbean and Mexican hotel operators, several airlines and large cruise operators. TTC is also a major outgoing tour operator to European destinations all year round. In terms of direct service, its transatlantic offering during the peak summer tourism season is unparalleled.

Jonview Canada, the country’s leading incoming tour operator, welcomed more than 250,000 travellers to Canada in 2015 through its nearly 1,200 commercial partners in more than 50 countries. Jonview Canada plays a key role in Canada’s success as an important international tourism destination and has partners with 2,000 suppliers across Canada on an annual basis, including 800 hotels, in every region of the country.

Transat Distribution Canada (TDC) is Canada’s leading retail distributor of holiday travel, with some 500 outlets and several websites. The network includes the Transat Travel, Club Voyages, Marlin Travel, Voyages en Liberté and TravelPlus banners, as well as the online agency TDC also works with another Transat distribution company, Travel Superstores.

Air Transat, a wholly owned Transat business unit, is Canada’s leading holiday travel airline. It carries close to some 3 million passengers annually to close to 60 destinations in 30 countries.

North America

(Revenues in thousands of dollars)

2015 2014 2013

Outgoing tour operators and air transportation

Transat Tours Canada

(includes Nolitours, Transat Holidays and Air Transat)
Revenues 2,650,089 2,876,571 2,848,000
Employees 3,020 2,840 2,700
Passengers¹ 4,180,000 3,555,000 3,333,000
Travellers² 1,509,000 1,722,500 1,816,200

Incoming tour operators and destination services

Jonview Canada

Revenues 129,300 115,000 111,000
Employees 126 122 140
Travellers 268,000 264,000 250,000


Revenues 74,400 63,400 58,900
Employees 471 443 365

Retail distribution

Transat Distribution Canada

(Club Voyages, Marlin Travel, TravelPlus, Voyages en Liberté)
Revenues (commissions and franchise) 45,500 47,900 48,200
Outlets owned 61 72 74
Employees 345 385 435
Outlets franchised 407 445 478

Revenues 14,400 14,500 13,100
Employees 154 135 161
Outlets owned 27 26 25

Other services

Transat AT

Employees 443 425 452

¹Airlines record flight segments in terms of passengers.
²Tour operators record round-trip travellers.

Transat in Europe

Transat has been operating in Europe since the Corporation's creation and currently has six business units there employing approximately 1,000 people in four countries.

Transat is a leading player in the travel and tourism industry in France, where tour operator Transat France develops and commercializes a full range of products under the Vacances Transat and Look Voyages brands. Look Voyages is a generalist brand that offers a variety of international destinations and has a great deal of expertise in resort club holidays. Known for their festive atmosphere and their French-speaking activity leaders, the famous Lookéa resort clubs are found mainly in the Mediterranean Basin and Caribbean regions. Under the Vacances Transat banner, Transat France offers a wide variety of foreign independent travel products as well as holidays on all continents (North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe...). Transat France seeks to offer its customers accessible, authentic, original and inclusive experiences. Transat France also operates some 40 travel agencies under the Look Voyages banner in the main French cities.

Transat owns Canadian Affair, an outgoing tour operator in the United Kingdom that specializes in travel to Canada and primarily uses Air Transat and Thomas Cook Airlines. American Affair is a sister brand launched in November 2015 to extend the holiday offering to the USA offering a wide range of airline partners to the various American destinations.

Tourgreece, which is also a business unit of Transat, is one of the largest incoming tour operators in Greece; it sells products in many countries.

Transat Tours Canada flies travellers on Air Transat between Canada and the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and in Turkey. In fiscal 2015, Air Transat offered direct flights between Canada and some 40 European destinations. Outside France and the United Kingdom, Transat's business partners market the Company's services. For instance, Air Consultants Europe (ACE), a Transat business unit located in The Hague, markets the Company's services in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria.

Jonview Canada, a Canadian incoming tour operator and business unit of Transat, sells products originating in almost all European countries to Canada through its commercial partners.


(Revenues in thousands)

2015 2014 2013

Outgoing tour operators

Vacances Transat (France)
(Vacances Transat (France), Bennett and Brokair)

Revenues (€) 446,000 497,000 497,000
Employees 774 730 699
Travellers 387,000 445,000 406,000
Club Lookéa / summer 39 33 31
Club Lookéa / winter 14 11 14
Outlets 42 42 42


Revenues (commissions) (€) 1,800 2,300 2,400
Employees 16 18 17
Travellers 35,000 38,000 37,000

Canadian Affair

Revenues (£) 33,100 43,600 50,000
Employees 89 74 86
Travellers 134,000 172,000 200,000

Incoming tour operators and destination services


Revenues (€) 29,500 21,400 16,600
Employees 47 42 36
Travellers 104,000 91,000 80,000

Hedge accounting

What are hedges?

Hedges are financial contracts whereby a company acquires in advance a contract to purchase a good at a predetermined price. This is done to eliminate the risk of volatility in the price of the goods being purchased.

While hedges are used to reduce volatility, it is important to note that they can have either a positive or negative effect based on the actual market prices of the goods during a given time period. Hedges can reduce potential costs if the actual price of the commodity goes up during the contract period. For example, if a company purchases a contract to buy 1,000 gallons of fuel at $3.00 per gallon for a given period in the future, and the price then rises to $4.00 per gallon at any given time during the contract period, the company will pay the locked in price of $3.00 per gallon for the period covered by the contract. However, in the event the price of fuel actually decreases under $3.00 over the contract period, the company cannot benefit from the reduced price and must still pay $3.00 per gallon as per the terms of the forward contract.

Why does Transat use hedges?

A large proportion of Transat’s sales are booked in advance of the actual travel date. Consequently, prices that customers pay us for the travel packages that we sell them are set several weeks and sometimes months before the date on which Transat must pay for the cost of the vacation, including aircraft fuel, aircraft maintenance and hotels. In addition, a significant portion of such expenses are paid in US dollars. Therefore Transat’s margin can fluctuate widely due to the fluctuations in the cost of fuel and currency from the time the customer pays us for the travel package to the time we pay the suppliers for the cost of the travel package. As a result, Transat purchases hedge contracts to limit the fluctuations of fuel prices and US dollar purchases.

How does hedge accounting work?

Under hedge accounting, the company must re-evaluate the value of its hedge contracts at each balance sheet date until the contracts mature. In other words, the company must periodically determine if the contracts it has entered into are positive or negative compared to current rates for new contracts.

For example, the company purchases a contract in September to buy 1,000 gallons of fuel at $4.00 per gallon (total $4,000) for a given period of time in the future, say February. If the price then drops to $3.00 per gallon at balance sheet time in October, this creates a difference of $1,000 as the hedge contract will cost $4,000 (in the future) while the current price of fuel is only $3,000. This $1,000 difference must be reflected in the company’s current income statement as a “loss” even though the actual purchase of the fuel has not yet been incurred and the price of fuel can still change. This is called mark-to-market. In addition, back to our example, any older contracts bought in previous periods, and which had previously been “marked-to-market”, would have to be “re-marked-to-market” in October and the variance incorporated to the income statement.

Now, there are no financial derivative instruments to hedge aircraft fuel. Future aircraft fuel prices are thus determined based on the fluctuations in the price of heating oil, which surprisingly, is the closest cousin in the oil category to aircraft fuel. From an accounting perspective, because hedging aircraft fuel using heating oil is not considered 100% efficient, mark-to-market adjustments on fuel contracts are recorded to the income statement. In other words, hedge accounting for aircraft fuel has an impact (positive or negative depending on the circumstances) on the actual bottom line before the maturity of the hedge contracts even if there is no cash involved until the maturity date.

On the other hand, currency hedging is perfectly efficient because Canadian dollar/US dollar contracts are readily available on the market. Consequently, currency hedge accounting has no impact on the income statement, but is rather recorded in the equity portion of the balance sheet, known as Comprehensive income, according to accounting rules. When the contracts are realized, (when the cash is actually disbursed) the outstanding adjustment is recorded to the income statement as part of the expense that is being covered.

In other words, hedge accounting is about how to account at the present time for an unpredictable, future financial outcome; and the accounting treatment for Transat is different for fuel hedging (immediate mark-to-market impact on income statement) and currency hedging (inclusion in the income statement at the time the outcome becomes actual).

Sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism is based on the principles of sustainable development, which emerged approximately 20 years ago and is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

Simply put, sustainable tourism entails respect for nature as well as for the host communities and their values; it combines positive socio-economic benefits for local populations with an enriching experience for travellers.

The objective of sustainable tourism is therefore to conserve natural resources and biodiversity; to respect and promote cultural diversity, traditions and local values; to preserve and enhance cultural and built heritage and to share the benefits with the local communities, primarily through the creation of jobs. It also aims to minimize the negative impacts of tourism, including the sexual exploitation of children.

Sustainable tourism therefore consists of three pillars - environmental, socio-cultural and economic - and encourages all stakeholders to be more sensitive to these issues.

There is no doubt that the tourism drawing power of destinations is closely tied to the preservation and enhancement of their natural and cultural heritage. Consequently, an increasing number of destinations are adopting and implementing sustainable tourism policies and programs to ensure that their tourism development efforts are better planned and more effectively managed. This will enable them to safeguard their assets and remain “competitive” on the international market as well as ensure their long-term survivability. In addition, it is in the best interests of all concerned - the local communities themselves, tourism companies and travellers.

In order to practise sustainable tourism, tour operators must, first and foremost, commit to a process of ongoing improvement and encourage their tourism services suppliers to do the same. For Transat, this means optimizing our internal processes and management methods in order to maximize the use of resources; raising awareness among our stakeholders, starting with our employees, suppliers and customers; gradually integrating new criteria for the acquisition of goods and services; as well as increasing co-operation with our destinations. By subscribing to a sustainable process, Transat is defining its approach to social and environmental responsibility and joining the ranks of the major travel companies strongly committed to the viable development of tourism in the long term.

Travellers must also do their part. They must journey responsibly and respect local communities and their natural environments. This primarily means treating their hosts with respect and open-mindedness; using resources in moderation; striving to protect the natural environment and fragile sites; as well as contributing more to the development of the host communities, for instance by supporting local craftspersons and artists. If travellers adopt these attitudes and behaviours, they will be helping to make tourism more sustainable while they experience a richer and more memorable stay.

Therefore international tourism - the leading industry worldwide - is on the one hand a formidable tool for socio-economic development and in the fight to eradicate poverty in the host communities. On the other, it increases pressure on resources and generates undesirable social impacts. Sustainable tourism, however, is a balanced approach aimed at maximizing the positive benefits of tourist operations and minimizing the negative impacts.

United Nations' conceptual definition of sustainable tourism

The United Nations has defined the concept of sustainable tourism thus:

Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism at all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability.

As a result, sustainable tourism should:

  • make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity;
  • respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritages and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance;
  • ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure broad participation and consensus-building. Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and requires constant monitoring of impacts, which implies introducing the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures whenever necessary.

Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience for tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and encouraging them to adopt sustainable tourism practices.

Child sex tourism

“Combating child sex tourism.” This statement is a good illustration of the gravity of this social issue. How is child sex tourism distinguished from other forms of abuse and exploitation? How widespread is it? Before we can act effectively against this form of exploitation, we must begin by understanding it.

The expression “commercial sexual exploitation of children” means the use of children for sexual gratification by adults for remuneration, which may be in cash or goods. The remuneration may be paid to the child or to a third party. Often, the child supports his or her family with the profits of prostitution. Children trapped in this cycle have difficulty finding the support they need to escape it. There are four types of commercial sexual exploitation of children: trafficking and sale of children, pornography, prostitution and sex tourism.

Trafficking in children for sexual purposes involves the recruiting of children by force or by trickery, and their sale to people who use them to produce pornography or as prostitutes. Child pornography is the depiction of sexual activity or situations involving children using any medium: photography, film, video, etc. Child prostitution is the use of children for sexual purposes in exchange for money or any other type of recompense.

Child sex tourism is practised by travellers. It is a type of prostitution, insofar as it always involves some form of remuneration, be it money, gifts or food.

There are three categories of sex tourists who abuse children.

First, there are true pedophiles, who have an exclusive sexual preference for prepubescent children. Next are so- called preferential sex tourists. These are people who have an active, but not exclusive, sexual preference for children. Although they are also in the minority, they are viewed as particularly dangerous. The third and most frequent category is situational offenders. These are ordinary travellers who do not have a sexual preference for children or minors, but succumb to temptation when an opportunity arises.

Sex tourism has tragic consequences for the children who are victims. They are often beaten, and obviously exposed to all manner of diseases. In girls, pregnancies and repeated abortions are frequent. Children who are sexually exploited suffer psychologically, which leaves permanent scars.

Sex tourism has disrupting, even devastating effects on the social fabric and the economies of the destination countries involved. Criminal activity and violence are never far away. Eventually, the entire local population is affected because the vast majority of tourists, especially families, end up staying away from regions with negative reputations.

Tourists who engage in sexual activity with children are committing a crime. They therefore run the risk of ending up in prison and seeing their personal and professional lives destroyed. Added to this is the danger of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

Governments’ attention has been focused on this issue for some time, thanks in part to the actions of the United Nations. Adopted in 1959, the Declaration on the Rights of the Child lays down such rights as the right to be protected from any form of exploitation. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child puts forward a set of standards and obligations that are universally accepted and non-negotiable. In 2000, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was strengthened with the adoption of two optional protocols: the first concerns the involvement of children in armed conflicts, and the second deals with the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

In addition, some forty countries—including Canada, France and the U.K.—have passed so-called extraterritorial legislation, which allows them to prosecute their own citizens for all sex crimes committed abroad against children. In other words, it no longer matters where the crime is committed.

As such, under the Criminal Code, the courts in Canada can prosecute a Canadian citizen for a sexual offence perpetrated against a child in another country. This provision applies to all children regardless of nationality; this includes Canadian children outside the country. Tour operators and travel agencies who attempt to facilitate sex tourism involving minors can also be held criminally responsible for their actions.

The travel and tourism industry is extremely concerned about child sex tourism, and in recent years has been taking more and more actions to combat the problem. Obviously, raising awareness is very important. It will not stop pedophiles or preferential sex tourists. But awareness-raising initiatives can be a deterrent to situational offenders.

In 2008, Transat adopted a sustainable tourism policy that sets forth the principles and values that it intends to comply with and promote. The policy clearly states the company’s position against any and all forms of child sex tourism. Where our staff is concerned, we are putting the accent on training our front-line teams, whose members are more likely to witness dubious situations. We also want to raise awareness among all our employees. In the case of travellers, our efforts are focused on raising awareness of the consequences of sex tourism. Lastly, we are working closely with our partners.

Air Transat

Air Transat is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transat A.T. Inc. The Canadian airline company, which made its inaugural flight on November 14, 1987, specializes in holiday travel. Air Transat’s transatlantic offering is unrivalled with about 30 European destinations. Its offer to sun destinations is also unparalleled.

Air Transat owns a fleet of Boeing 737 and Airbus A310 and A330 aircraft. It employs around 2,000 people.

Air Transat's capacity is primarily marketed by its sister company Transat Tours Canada. Customer service falls essentially under the responsibility of Transat Tours Canada.

Air Transat became a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2008. It has also been awarded IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) accreditation by IATA. The IOSA program comprises more than 900 internationally recognized standards applicable to management, flight operations, operational control, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations and security. IOSA registration means an airline has complied with all the IOSA standards and confirms its commitment to safety.

Air Transat is a private enterprise that is not listed on the stock market. Its financial results are consolidated with those of its sister company Transat Tours Canada and then with those of Transat A.T. Inc., its publicly held parent company, from which they cannot be dissociated. Some financial data is available in the Management's Discussion and Analysis. Further information is available in the Investors section.

Fuel management program

Air travel remains one of the world’s most efficient means of public transportation, and the airline industry is firmly committed to meeting the challenge of climate change, thanks in part to evolving technology. Over the past 40 years, for example, average fuel consumption per passenger has dropped by 70%. It is expected that between 2005 and 2020, consumption will decrease by 25%, and the industry has made commitments in this regard. It is also estimated that emissions could be lowered by 12% over the very short term if governments made efforts to reduce crowded skies, along with congestion at certain airports.

A rigorous program of aircraft fuel consumption management enables real, measurable reductions in GHG emissions attributable to air transport. Air Transat has developed and applied such a program, and continues to refine it. It has resulted in a significant decrease in fuel consumption (of the order of 5%).

Air Transat’s fuel management program

Air Transat’s fuel management program, considered one of the best of its kind, is characterized by its rigorous approach. Most of the program’s measures have also been adopted by other carriers, but Air Transat stands out in that it has systematically applied them, and refined their application, thanks in part to collaborative efforts with top experts, constant teamwork and boundless motivation. Our fuel-saving initiatives involve flight operations, flight planning, ground operations, engineering and catering services. While some measures outwardly may seem quite ordinary, they translate into impressive numbers over a full year of operations. Following is just a brief glimpse of the components of Air Transat’s program.

Aircraft weight reduction

The easiest method of reducing an aircraft’s fuel consumption is to reduce its weight. Physics takes care of the rest: over an equal flying distance, a lighter plane will burn less fuel. For example, Air Transat’s planes are equipped with lighter-weight lifejackets and cargo containers.

Another weight-reduction measure has been to reduce the amounts of drinking water and certain products for consumption carried on aircraft, depending on the destination. Rather than needlessly loading aircraft and applying the same parameters on all routes, statistical analyses have been conducted to precisely evaluate the necessary quantities of these items for given flight times and destinations. Even with the application of reasonable safety margins, the weight savings are substantial.

Flight plan optimization

The average person probably thinks a flight plan is pretty simple: “Let’s see, we have to go from Point A to Point B, following a straight line and flying at a certain speed…”. In fact, the preparation of a flight plan is a complex procedure that must take a number of variables into consideration. For instance, aircraft performance and fuel consumption depend a great deal on altitude (because of the changing density of the atmosphere, for example), wind speed (tailwinds improve performance) and air speed (which is related to flight time). There are also constraints imposed by air traffic control, and specific rules to be followed on transoceanic flights. Flight plan optimization is one of the fundamental components of Air Transat’s fuel management program.

To this end, the airline has acquired a software application that enables refinements to flight planning procedures by assessing a greater number of variables. Some weather data, for instance, are now updated more frequently, enabling pilots to make minor altitude adjustments to take advantage of tailwinds. Air Transat has set up a task force that, using these new tools, can now determine optimum flight plans with much greater precision. This includes calculating the precise quantity of fuel to load into tanks and determining the optimal aircraft speed (a lower speed, resulting in a few minutes more flight time, may prove efficient), all of which translates into average savings of about 500 kg of fuel per flight.

Ground operations

Each year, the world’s airlines burn thousands of tonnes of fuel while their planes are simply taxiing between terminals and runways. Before takeoff as well as after landing, an aircraft typically taxis for about 15 minutes. Air Transat has adopted several measures aimed at reducing fuel consumption during ground movements of aircraft, the most important of which is introducing single-engine taxiing. A further benefit of this measure is reduced noise.

Upon landing, pilots decelerate using a combination of aerodynamic spoilers, thrust reversers and brakes. Traditionally, they have favoured use of the thrust reversers so as to minimize brake wear—but this requires burning a certain amount of fuel to preserve engine thrust. With the advent of carbon brakes, which resist high temperatures better than traditional steel brakes, Air Transat has formally instituted a procedure whereby pilots use idle reverse thrust as opposed to maximum reverse thrust after landing, which reduces both fuel consumption and noise.

A further technique developed by Air Transat involves the method of cargo and baggage loading, which optimizes the aircraft’s centre of gravity. Ensuring that the centre of gravity is shifted slightly aft, rather than forward, improves an aircraft’s performance by modifying the angle of attack, which in turn allows it to burn slightly less fuel. Given that an aircraft spends many hours cruising, even a tiny improvement in this regard can make a significant difference. Once it perfected this technique, Air Transat set up a program to train the appropriate personnel in optimum cargo and baggage loading.


In terms of aircraft maintenance, there are many measures, some relatively inexpensive, that can produce fuel savings. For example, something as simple as chipped and scratched paint can affect an aircraft’s aerodynamics. Immediate repairs can make a big difference, and to this end, Air Transat has implemented improved inspection procedures. The company has also discovered that more frequent engine washes can result in significant gains. Engine washes clean hydrocarbons, dirt, grime and insects that build up on fan blades and compressor blades, and allow engines to burn less fuel to achieve the equivalent amount of thrust.

CO2 emissions from Air Transat flights (November 1 to October 31)

  Total CO2 emissions
(in tonnes)
Fuel consumption (litres) / CO2 emissions (kg)
(per passenger/100 km)
2014 1,275,519 3.07 litres / 7.76 kg
2013 1,232,238 3.07 litres / 7.76 kg
2012 1,450,741 3.1 litres / 7.83 kg
2011 1,343,450 3.15 litres / 7.97 kg
2010 1,109,378 3.30 litres / 8.35 kg
2009 1,139,773 3.28 litres / 8.30 kg
2008 1,137,629 3.26 litres / 8.25 kg

Total CO2 emissions are directly related to the number of flights made and, with the exception of 2010, our flight operations have grown year over year.

In 2008, the reduction in the number of seats aboard our aircraft directly impacted fuel consumption per passenger. In 2011, our performance in this area improved because of the greater number of more fuel-efficient Airbus A330s in the fleet. There may be other reasons for the variances, including load factors, the quantity of cargo carried and flight length.

Approximate quantities of CO2 emissions per passenger, return flights, Air Transat

City-pair Approximate flying distance
(one-way only)
Quantity of CO2 per passenger
(round trip)
Toronto–Athens 8,112 km 1.270 t
Montreal–Paris 5,519 km 0.864 t
Vancouver–London 7,614 km 1.192 t
Montreal–Cancun 2,968 km 0.465 t
Toronto – Cuba 2,289 km 0.358 t
Toronto – Fort Lauderdale 1,958 km 0.307 t

Emergency landing of Air Transat Flight TS 236 on August 24, 2001

Background document for journalists

In August 2001, an Air Transat aircraft flying from Toronto to Lisbon, carrying 293 passengers and a crew of 13, suffered a serious fuel leak. With its tanks empty, the plane glided for approximately 19 minutes above the Atlantic Ocean before making a successful emergency landing in the Azores. The investigation into the causes of the accident, conducted by Portugal, took more than three years to complete, and shed light on what had happened. The investigation report was made public on October 18, 2004.

The event received significant media coverage at the time. In light of the investigation report findings, it emerged that many of those initial press articles and reports were inaccurate and in some cases erroneous. Journalists wishing to write about the incident are encouraged to refer to the investigation report, which is the only objective reference in the case. Following is a summary of events, prepared by Transat. Journalists seeking further information or verifications may contact the Transat media department by phone or in writing. Any publication of inaccurate information will result in a request for a correction.

The full accident investigation report is available for download at:

Summary of the facts

  1. Flight TS 236 took off from Toronto at 8.52 pm EST on Thursday, August 23, 2001, bound for Lisbon, Portugal. It made an emergency landing at 6.45 am UTC on August 24, 2001, at Lajes Airport, Terceira, Azores, Portugal. There were 293 passengers and 13 crewmembers on board.
  2. The aircraft was an Airbus A330 manufactured in 1999, configured with 362 seats and put into service by Air Transat in April of 1999. The plane is still operated by Air Transat.
  3. When it left the gate in Toronto, the aircraft had 47.9 tonnes of fuel on board, 5.5 metric tons more than the amount required by regulations.
  4. It was determined that a fuel leak began at 4:38 a.m. UTC, approximately four hours into the flight, following the rupture of a fuel line in the right engine (not in a fuel tank). The leak was practically undetectable for nearly an hour, and became progressively worse.
  5. At 5:45 a.m. UTC, facing an obviously abnormal situation, but having been unable to diagnose the fuel leak, the pilots made the decision to divert to the Azores Islands as a precaution. At that point the aircraft’s position was to the northeast of the islands; the crew therefore had to change direction and head southwest.
  6. At 6:13 a.m. UTC, with fuel having run out, the right engine flamed out, followed 13 minutes later by the left engine. The engines did not catch fire. The aircraft then glided for 19 minutes over a distance of 65 nautical miles (approximately 120 km) to reach Lajes. The Airbus A330 is a wide-body aircraft that weighs approximately 120 metric tonnes when empty. It is believed that during the glide, the plane’s total weight was some 150 to 160 metric tonnes. The quantity of fuel lost can be estimated at 15 metric tonnes.
  7. At 6:45 a.m. UTC, or 2:45 a.m. EST, on August 24, the aircraft landed at Lajes, at an estimated speed of 200 knots (approximately 370 km/h), which is faster than the normal touchdown speed. The passengers were then evacuated within approximately 90 seconds; 16 of them, along with two crew members, were injured at this time. The injuries were minor or very minor, except in the case of two passengers who sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries.
  8. The accident investigation was led by the Aviation Accidents Prevention and Investigation Department of Portugal, the country in which the event occurred, per the framework established in Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation Organization, The Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada (Canada), the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile and the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (France), the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (United Kingdom), Air Transat, Airbus and Rolls-Royce also took part. Under Section 3.1 of Annex 13, the sole objective of such investigations is the prevention of accidents and incidents, not the apportioning of blame or liability; as a result, no blame was established.
  9. As is often the case, the accident was shown to have resulted from several different factors, including a maintenance error committed by Air Transat, which the company immediately acknowledged. The principal recommendations emerging from the investigation report concerned improvements to the leak detection systems on board all Airbus A330 aircraft, to checklists, to pilot training and flight manuals, as well to procedures and regulations governing the planning and execution of replacement of major components. None of the recommendations was aimed specifically and exclusively at Air Transat.
  10. The crew members demonstrated composure and professionalism. The performance of the pilots, Robert Piché and Dirk De Jager, was recognized by their peers. All 11 members of the cabin crew performed their duty by following the captain’s instructions and acting in accordance with their training. Their exemplary conduct was publicly acknowledged by several of the passengers.