MIAMI – Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Canadian Leisure airline Air Transat (TS) has retired its remaining Airbus A310 prematurely, temporarily suspending operations in the process.
Air Transat originally planned to phase out the type at the end of April 2020, but have brought it forward, due to COVID19 and the dramatic drop in air travel demand.
Air Transat follows suit with Qantas and KLM who have prematurely retired their Boeing 747s from service. Qantas was originally slated to in November 2020 and KLM in Spring 2021.
The last A310 flight, TS765 touched down on March 30th, 2020, into Toronto Pearson from Porto, via a stopover in Halifax. The final A310 flights operated by Air Transat were all repatriation missions.
The remaining three A310, C-GTSY, C-GSAT, C-GPAT have been ferried to Montreal Mirabel for scrapping. The A310 fleet had an average age of 29 years, with the oldest aircraft being 32 years old.
The final A310, C-GSAT, touched down in Montreal Mirabel for the last time, from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) on March 31st, 2020, marking the end of nearly 20 years of A310 operations at the airline.
It’s another end of an era from a global standpoint, as TS was the last airline to fly the A310 across the Atlantic and the last western airline to fly the A310 in passenger service. The remaining passenger operators of the A310 are in Iran and Afghanistan.
Air Transat has replaced its A310 with second-hand A330 and the new Airbus A321LR, which the carrier has 15 orders for. Air Transat now has three A321LR in its fleet, with the first one being delivered in May 2019.
Suspension of operations
Additionally, due to the COVID19, TS has temporarily suspended its operations from April 1st through April 30th, 2020 and has temporally laid off 70% of its workforce.
The only flights TS continues to operate for the time being are repatriation flights for Canada Citizens stranded abroad. To date, TS has brought 46,000 stranded Canadian citizens home with the repatriation flights.
Air Transat’s President and CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said in relation to the suspension, “We know that this crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty and has had some serious repercussions on your daily life.”
He also said, “Even as the situation changes rapidly from day to day, the well-being of our customers remains a top priority. That’s why we’d like to share with you all the efforts we’ve made in repatriating our passengers, as well as the concrete measures we’ve put in place in these exceptional circumstances.”
The CEO added, “On a more personal note, I’ve been in the tourism industry for over 40 years, and having people travel and discover other cultures has been my life. Surrounded by an experienced and passionate team, I’ve weathered many storms since I founded Transat, and I can say one thing with confidence: our experience and resilience will help us overcome this crisis and emerge stronger than ever.”
As of April 2nd, 2020, TS has a fleet of 40 aircraft, with an average age of 14.4 years. This includes 12 A321CEO, three A321LR, 16 A330-200, four A330-200, and five Boeing 737-800.