Warning concerning information circulating on the Web

Transat wishes to advise the media that it in no way ensures the accuracy and completeness of information circulating on the Web about the company, including its business units, particularly on sites such as Wikipedia. The way these sites are operated, as well as the multitude of people able to change their content, have led, and will continue to lead, to information quality problems. Transat posts background information on its own website and has a media service available for journalists.

Following are clarifications that Transat considers to be important. It should not be assumed, however, that an article or report that does not appear in this section contains only accurate information and the company makes no commitment to correct all inaccuracies.

2018-09-14 - Clarification following a report by The Canadian Press

An article entitled “Transat vows to raise prices after fuel costs hit earnings,” published by The Canadian Press on September 13, 2018, mistakenly gave the impression that Transat had voluntarily decided not to increase prices during the summer of 2018 in response to a rise in fuel costs, while its competitors did raise prices for that reason, and said that “Transat executives have pledged to raise prices next summer.”

The article reported that Chief Operating Officer Annick Guérard had said the company “opted not to join” competitors in raising prices. The transcript of the Third Quarter 2018 conference call with business reporters shows that she in fact said “we haven’t been able to see any increase on pricing for the summer.”

Transat’s anticipation that pricing will increase next summer should not have been construed as a “vow” or “pledge”: the move to raise prices is not only voluntary, but also an adaptation to competitive conditions.

The CP article went on to imply that Transat has kept prices low in a market in which “climbed 28 per cent overall in Canada in the first half of 2018.” This is misleading: Transat did not see any significant increase in prices on its routes, and has said as much in its investor-relations communications. If prices have indeed increased by 28 percent, this no doubt reflects price changes in markets in which Transat is not active, and/or in fare classes specific to competitors (e.g., First Class, Business Class) and not Transat.

Moreover, the 28 percent figure was drawn from a Statistics Canada table of the non-seasonally-adjusted monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI). That table is accompanied by a disclaimer, which states: “Users are reminded that the methodology for the air transportation index was updated in March 2018 as part of the regular review of the CPI methodology. Interpretation of the 12-month price change indicator should be made with caution, particularly in the year following the implementation of the new methodology” (the emphasis is Transat’s).

2017-01-09 - AirHelp corrects its latest ranking following an error

The media carried reports on the latest AirHelp world airlines ranking, published November 12, 2016, in which Air Transat placed 70th by mistake. Air Transat moved up to 15th place in this ranking in early January after AirHelp corrected the score it gave our carrier for its on-time performance, replacing the initial grade of 2.3/10 with 8/10. The new score is more representative of the excellent service that Air Transat provides to its customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The AirHelp ranking, published twice a year, evaluates some 80 airlines worldwide on the quality of their service, their on-time performance and the efficiency of their handling of compensation claims. Air Transat was included for the first time in this ranking.


2016-11-01 - Clarification regarding an article in Le Devoir

Transat wishes to make a clarification regarding certain statistics mentioned in an article in the October 29, 2016, issue of the daily newspaper Le Devoir entitled Un hiver intense attend les grands voyagistes (“Rough winter in store for major tour operators”), which the author attributed to the entire industry, and in fact should have been attributed solely to Transat.

Journalist Gérard Bérubé wrote:

“The competition is all the more intense given the asymmetry in the origin of travellers across Canada, with 80% of demand concentrated in Quebec and Ontario. More specifically, 44% of these Canadians vacationing in the South come from Quebec and 36% are from Ontario. Following far behind are Alberta (8%), British Columbia (5%), the Atlantic Provinces (3%) and other regions of Canada (3%).

“Preferred Sun destinations this year are Mexico, which is expected to attract 33% of Canadian travellers, Cuba (28%), the Dominican Republic (27%), Central America (6%), the Caribbean (3%) and Jamaica (3%), again according to the forecasts provided by the integrated tour operator.”

These data, drawn from the September 2016 presentation to analysts prepared by Transat, concern only Transat and not, as the journalist implied, the overall industry.
At our request, the daily published a clarification in its November 1, 2016, Web and paper editions. We extend our thanks.

2016-08-30 - Erroneous information on CHOI 98,1 Radio X

During the Fillion show broadcast on CHOI 98,1 Radio X last Thursday, August 25, the host stated that Air Transat management was in the process of urgently seeking an investor in order to sell the airline, and that it could fall into the control of foreign interests. This is untrue and Air Transat is not for sale. In addition, under the Canada Transportation Act, Air Transat A.T. Inc., wholly owned subsidiary of Transat A.T. Inc., must always be able to show that it is 75% controlled by Canadians in order to be able to hold the licenses required to operate an air service.

2016-07-11 - Erroneous statement on CTV News Channel

On the morning of July 5, 2016 on CTV News Channel, a business commentator made an unsubstantiated link between Transat’s financial situation and its decision to sell its tour-operating activities in France and in Greece. On the contrary, Transat is in good financial health and this potential transaction is motivated by our desire to focus on profitable growth in the Americas through the development of our tour-operating, distribution and hotel business lines, as well as our airline activities and our transatlantic program. This decision to sell is aligned with the company’s 2015–2017 strategic plan.

2016-02-01 - Zika Virus: inaccurate information Agence QMI

A dispatch by Agence QMI contains contradictory information, as it erroneously signals that Transat has accepted to refund pregnant women wanting to cancel a trip to a country affected by the Zika virus, while also signalling, correctly, that we in fact accept dates or destination changes. The headline erroneously speaks of indemnification.

2016-01-13 - Potential sale of Transat France – clarification (French only)

Contrairement à l’impression qui peut avoir été donnée le 12 janvier 2016, il n’y a présentement sur la table aucun projet qui supposerait un rachat de Transat France par son équipe de direction.

2015-10-06 - Incorrect story by CBC on passengers denied boarding

On October 5-6, 2015, CBC published a story entitled «Hungarian Roma regularly prevented from boarding Canada-bound flights». Below is (1) a Request for immediate correction regarding the said story, sent to CBC early on October 6; and (2) the information provided by writing to the reporter in advance of said story. CBC did make a small editing adjustment addressing point 1 of our REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE CORRECTION, without publicly acknowledging the change. Our other points were ignored and our request for correcting the story was denied. Later in the day on October 6, a distinct, follow-up story did mention that a visa is required when the purpose of the trip is not tourism, establishing that the original story was indeed incomplete. CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices say: “We do not hesitate to correct a significant error when we have been able to establish that one has occurred.”

Re. Raffy Boudjikanian’s «Hungarian Roma regularly prevented from boarding Canada-bound flights» (5-6 October, 2015)

We request that the article mentioned above be immediately and visibly corrected.

  1. The subtitle says: “Air Transat, CBSA wouldn’t comment but advocate suspects Canada wants to curb refugee claims.” This is plain false, as we commented at length. It appears CBSA also commented, since they are quoted in the piece.
  2. The statement “Men and women who refuse to give their names or job titles have been picking passengers out of check-in lines… then denying them permission to board their flights” should have been attributed to passengers or witnesses, and is thus misleading. This cannot be asserted as fact as the reporter was not present and had no way to verify this.
  3. The assertion that Air Transat failed to answer CBC’s questions is false. We are on the record answering all CBC questions by writing, except for providing nominative information, which is out of the question for obvious reasons.
  4. We are on the record explaining who the people doing the screening are. Consequently, the assertion that we failed to answer questions concerning “the identity of the two people in the image” is baseless. In fact, the reporter chose to not share with the public relevant information provided to him.
  5. The article grossly mischaracterizes the situation and misleads the public by omitting a significant part of the story. By stating (without proof) that people denied boarding were travelling with valid travel documents, and by leading the public to understand that said people were arbitrarily taken out of the waiting line based solely on ethnic grounds, the reporter omits a very material portion of the story, which is that if and when travellers fail to demonstrate that they are travelling for leisure purposes, they need a visa. In other words, the heart of the story is that people were found by officials not to be travelling for tourism purposes and consequently were found not to have valid travel documents. Suppressing such information makes the whole story incomplete, inaccurate, slanted and misleading.

We request a visible correction be appended to the article immediately.

Below is the information provided to reporter several days before publication, in response to a list of questions.

  1. All airlines flying to Canada have a statutory obligation under Canadian immigration law to ensure that passengers are in possession of the travel documents prescribed for entry by Canadian immigration and border control authorities, as required by their specific circumstances including purpose of trip.
  2. In addition, and in light of the above, Government of Canada makes pre-boarding travel document screening mandatory.
  3. There is such a professional screening process in place in all European gateways, generally performed by specialized agencies. This, of course, is not specific to Air Transat or Budapest.
  4. Screening is performed by duly authorized and well-trained document screening officers, with the support of Government of Canada expert liaison officers, who verify (through questioning) that persons seeking to travel to Canada are in possession of the required travel documentation per Canadian immigration laws and regulations, and subsequently make recommendations to carriers to board or not to board the individual(s) in question. Citizens of visitor visa-exempt countries only require a valid passport for genuine visiting and/or tourism purposes. A valid visa is mandatory in all other cases. Specifically, in Hungary, a valid visa is mandatory if the purpose of the trip is declared or deemed to be something else than visiting or tourism.
  5. In some recent cases, Government of Canada officials present at the point of departure for the purpose of screening passengers regarding the purpose of their trip to Canada determined that certain travelers were apparently lacking appropriate documentation, including immigrant or work permit visas, where applicable, and consequently recommended that Air Transat refuse said travelers, or risk incurring liability for improperly documented arriving passengers, including the assessment of administrative penalties and assumption of the costs regarding subsequent removals/deportations. Given the circumstances, Air Transat duly followed the said recommendations.
  6. Having the appropriate travel documentation is unambiguously the responsibility of passengers and tickets are non-refundable, as clearly outlined in the terms and conditions of carriage and our tickets.
  7. We will not discuss the specifics of individual, nominative cases.
  8. Government of Canada officials identify themselves.
  9. Documentation is confidential.
  10. We reject allegations of profiling as groundless.

2015-06-12 - Clarification regarding a passenger denied boarding in Lyon

A passenger was denied boarding on an Air Transat flight departing from Lyon, France, on Thursday, June 11, 2015. Because this flight was scheduled or could have had to overfly the US airspace, our staff had no choice but to apply the provisions of the U.S. Secure Flight program—as all airlines must, and would have for this particular route.

It is not uncommon for a flight plan to change en route, because of weather or fluctuations in air traffic, for example.

Decisions like these are not made arbitrarily. There are rules and protocols governing civil aviation, and carriers that infringe upon them face sanctions.

Air carriers do not decide which routes are subject to enforcement of the Secure Flight provisions.

It is not up to us to explain the whys and wherefores of the Secure Flight program.

2015-03-13 - Clarification following a report by CBC News

On March 12, we released our financial results for the first quarter of 2015, and made our 2015-2017 strategic plan public.  A report by CBC News (web site, business) requires clarification.

Transat (not Air Transat) announced a $100-million plan to reduce costs (by $77 million) and improve margins by generating new revenues (by $23 million). A significant portion of Transat's $100-million program is not related to air costs.

The story infers that we will add 30 seats on all the Airbus A330s we operate. As we explained, and most media explicitly reported, only three Airbus A330 will get 30 more seats, out of the 12 we operate, and this initiative represents a fraction of the overall Transat plan.

All relevant details were made public and posted on our web site yesterday.

Michel Lemay's name is misspelled in the report.

2014-12-15 - Flawed analysis – QMI Agency, December 12, 2014

(Abridged version, for full text see French) An article from Agence QMI in the Journal de Montréal and the Journal de Québec on December 12, 2014 contains inaccuracies and requires corrections.

The reporter infers that financial instruments used by Air Transat to hedge against aircraft fuel cost variations are less efficient than those used by its competitors. His analysis is flawed. In an email we sent on December 12, we wrote, in substance:

  • Futures contracts are indeed hedging instruments, and paragraphs 3 and 4 of the article are inaccurate (compressed and paraphrased from the French).
  • Aircraft fuel prices are indeed going down, when expressed in US dollars. But over the last year, the Canadian dollar has weakened considerably, and this has offset the impact of much of the oil prices drop for companies reporting in Canadian dollar (compressed and paraphrased from the French).

On the aforementioned points, a precision was published by both media on December 13, which we find incomplete. The reporter wrote that “… the price of fuel is also impacted by the Canadian dollar.”

The main thrust of the article and its headline are problematic and may indicate a lack of understanding of the travel market dynamic. The piece reads: “No price reductions in sight at Air Transat – The drop in oil prices paves the way for reduced travel fares in the coming months, but Transat will not be able to match its competitors. The tour operator admitted as much in a conference call held yesterday… “

In our email of December 12, we wrote:

  • The article’s lead and its headline are inaccurate. It would have been acceptable for the reporter to write that Transat may not benefit from reduced fuel costs, thanks to the fall of the Canadian dollar and its hedging program (like other carriers). But no link can be established with selling prices, which are defined by supply and demand. Consequently, the headline and paragraphs 1 and 2 of the article are inaccurate. And obviously, the company admitted nothing of the sort. (compressed and paraphrased from the French).

In effect, in the travel industry, operators sometimes need to sell a portion of their inventory below unit cost to limit losses. Airline seats and roomnights earmarked for precise dates are a perishable product. Consequently, any operator will accept to sell at a loss of $100, rather than lose $1,500 on an empty seat and room. In other words, selling prices do not fluctuate based on costs, but based on sales, as industry observers know. In a way, tour operators’s primary challenge is to keep costs under prices, rather than keep prices above costs, as prices are determined by market forces.

In the article, the reporter makes two points, both false and without merit: that Transat will be unable to reduce selling prices, and that the company admitted as much. Tellingly, in an email received December 12, the reporter did not address this question.

Finally, the article contains a factual error which has been corrected on December 13: cost reductions for the 2012-2014 period amounted to $55 million, not $75 million.

2014-09-12 - Clarification regarding our results for third quarter 2014

Transat reported its third quarter results on September 11, 2014. Adjusted net income, which is a good reflection of the company's actual performance in light of market conditions, was 13% inferior to those of Q3, 2013, when Transat had a record summer season. The results reported yesterday were actually among the best ever for that quarter. In addition, they were recorded when capacity on Transat European destinations was 10% higher. In other words, despite demanding market conditions, Transat had a very good quarter, better than expected by several financial analysts.

Net income, for its part, was 37% lower than in 2013, as this line of financial statements includes non cash, non operational items, most notably mark-to-market accounting of fuel hedging contracts. About $12 million out of the $15 million negative variance, quarter over quarter, relates to said mark-to-market accounting.

Some news outlets, including The National Post and the Toronto Star, wrongly connected a "37% plunge in profit" with market conditions during the quarter, largely due to erroneous dispatches from the Canadian Press, and thus are this morning conveying an inaccurate picture of Transat's performance during the quarter. Reporters unfamiliar with accounting or financial statements interpretation can consult our website, which contains a backgrounder on mark-to-market accounting, call us, or seek outside expertise.

2014-09-02 - Erroneous information in a La Presse story

A story published in the August 30, 2014, edition of La Presse about "earnings kept abroad" of large Quebec companies contains erroneous information about Transat. Transat should have been included in the list of companies which do not disclose such information.

2014-08-26 - False information in trade travel media

Trade travel media, of Spain, is conveying false information regarding Air Transat when it writes that the airline owes half a million euros to Barcelona Airlines, its former sales agent in Spain. Air Transat ended its business relationship with Barcelona Airlines in early 2014, when Barcelona Airlines defaulted on the remittance of a significant amount of money (receipts from actual ticket sales) owed to Air Transat. It was discovered soon after that Barcelona Airlines had used funds earmarked for marketing for other, unintended purposes. Therefore, Air Transat owes Barcelona Airlines nothing and the thrust of's coverage is without merit. In contempt of basic journalistic principles, reporter Estefania Oliver did not contact Air Transat before publishing a piece headlined: "Air Transat deals a severe blow to Catalan airlines agency," which is causing unwarranted damage to Air Transat's reputation. A request for right of reply, correction and apology will be presented to in short order.

2014-07-01 - Clarification regarding an article in Finance et Investissement magazine of May 28, 2014

Following an article in Finance et Investissement magazine written by Richard Cloutier, Transat wishes to clarify the facts concerning the compensation paid to its President and Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Marc Eustache.

Contrary to what is stated in the article, no direct or indirect action taken by the Montrusco Bolton investment company ever resulted in an adjustment to the compensation of any senior executive of Transat.

In 2011, Transat A.T.’s Board of Directors adopted, on its own initiative, the “say on pay” principle and submitted it to shareholders in March 2012. The introduction of this provision is in no way attributable to Montrusco Bolton’s action, contrary to what Mr. Cloutier’s story implies.

At our request, Finance et Investissement published a clarification in its July 1, 2014, edition. We extend our thanks.

2014-01-24 - Groundless rumor in the wake of a press release dated January 23, 2014

On January 23, 2014 Transat issued a press release to fulfill its disclosure obligations. The release describes a technical change which will be submitted to the shareholders on March 13, 2014. Some trade media have drawn erroneous conclusions, which started a rumor that a take-over could be envisioned. Such rumors are without merit.

2014-01-13 - Unfounded allegations on Radio-Canada

On January 8, 2014, groundless statements regarding aircraft maintenance in the airline industry were made during a Radio-Canada morning show. A retraction was requested. It was refused, despite what had been said was unsubstantiated and irresponsible, and the public had been misled. The following letter was sent to Radio-Canada on January 13 by the National Airlines Council of Canada.

2013-09-13 - Inaccurate information in a Canadian Press piece

Transat released its financial results for the third quarter 2013 on September 12. On the same day, the Company held a conference call for financial analysts and the media. Contrary to what the Canadian Press reported, Transat did not indicate during the call that it intended to reduce capacity on sun destinations in the winter 2014. The inaccuracy was repeated in several major media.

2013-02-27 - Clarification regarding a February 26, 2013, editorial in Tourmag

Following an editorial written by Dominique Gobert in Tourmag, Transat wishes to clarify the facts surrounding the compensation paid to its President.

The basic salary of Jean-Marc Eustache, founder, President and CEO of Transat, for 2011, 2012 and 2013 was in fact frozen at $822,000 for these three years, contrary to what Mr. Gobert’s article implies.

The figures disclosed publicly by Transat in its annual proxy are based on the Company’s fiscal year (November 1 to October 31), while salaries are adjusted in line with the calendar year (January 1 to December 31). This is the basis of the erroneous perception that may be drawn from the proxy.

As for the amount mentioned as total compensation, which includes, among others, the value attributed to stock options, it must be understood that this is potential compensation, which will only be realized if certain future conditions are met, including the attainment of profitability objectives. This kind of arrangement is obviously very common in publicly traded companies. Mr. Gobert also seems to attribute statements to Mr. Eustache that we are unable to verify.

2013-02-13 - Clarification on an article in Le Soleil of February 13

In an article published on February 13, 2013, Le Soleil says that Transat’s decision to slightly reduce its capacity to sun destinations was the main factor behind the results of the fourth quarter, ended October 31, 2012, for which the Company recorded a net income of $16.6 million. In the summer, including in August, September and October, Transat’s results depend first and foremost on the conditions prevailing on the transatlantic market. As indicated in our release of December 19, 2012, higher prices and load factors on the Canada-Europe market are the main factor explaining the increase in margin. In addition, it should be noted that we do not endorse the numbers of Le Soleil in terms of market shares.

2013-02-12 - Clarification on an article in Le Devoir of February 12, 2013, regarding CanJet Airlines

In its February 12 edition, Le Devoir alludes to a contract between Air Transat and CanJet Airlines. Transat wishes to make clear that CanJet Airlines is under contract from Transat’s main Canadian business unit, Transat Tours Canada (which operates under the Nolitours and Transat Holidays brands), not Air Transat. There is no contract between CanJet Airlines and Air Transat. In addition, the article alludes to the profitability of Air Transat; it should have said Transat.

2012-12-19 - Comment on a Gazette story of December 19, 2012

A story in this morning’s Gazette propagates anonymous comments whose essence is unfounded. Even though the journalist published the company’s denials, Transat regrets the dissemination of totally erroneous information. In light of the above, Transat has issued press releases this morning establishing the facts. Transat announced this morning that it had a very profitable summer.

2012-11-13 - Erroneous information and speculation in

On November 12, the French online magazine published erroneous information and speculation about Transat, without attempting to check the facts beforehand. Transat is disappointed with the use of conditional tenses and question marks, the obvious outcome of which is to propagate rumours, in an article titled “ Transat France vers un plan social avec la mise en commun des équipes? ” Transat therefore wishes to clarify the facts regarding a plan to merge Transat France business units in one single legal entity, which was presented to the firm’s comité d’entreprise on October 26, 2012.

The said merger of Transat entities in France has numerous advantages, mainly a simplification of financial administration. A reorganization of business units and an amalgamation of some departments could follow. However, contrary to’sspeculations, no “plan social” is planned and no meeting of the comité d’entreprise is scheduled on November 15, 2012. Management of Transat France will provide more details about this plan in late November.

Transat France has asked’s newsroom to correct the published story. A clarification has been sent to all professional media in France.

As stipulated in the Charte d’éthique professionnelle des journalistes, journalists should exercise the utmost vigilance before disseminating information, and the failure to check the facts constitutes a serious departure from professional performance.

2012-11-13 - Clarification regarding a story in The Globe and Mail on October 18, 2012

On October 18, 2012, The Globe and Mail daily newspaper published a story headlined “Beware: Transat faces more turbulence,” which was erroneous.

At Transat’s request, the Globe and Mail published a clarification on-line on October 23, which was updated on October 29.

The following letter was sent to the Globe and Mail’s public editor on November 7, 2012.

Montreal, November 7, 2012.

Ms. Sylvia Stead,
Public Editor,
The Globe and Mail

By email at

Dear Ms. Stead,

I am writing in reference to an article by David Milstead published in The Globe and Mail on October 18, 2012, headlined Beware: Transat faces more turbulence. The article occupied approximately half of Page B16. A “clarification” was published online on October 23. It was updated on October 29.

The initial story contained a major factual error that Mr. Milstead readily acknowledged when contacted by us. In essence, Mr. Milstead had calculated a ratio of 11.25 when dividing enterprise value (including off-balance-sheet aircraft leases, as he explains) by EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), and concluded that the company’s stock price was less attractive than it seemed. Hence the dark tone of the headline.

The problem was that Mr. Milstead’s calculation was flawed. It should have included aircraft rents in the denominator. As he says in his clarification: “How much difference does it make? A lot.” And he then explains that the ratio of enterprise value to EBITDAR(the “R” standing for “Rents”) comes out at 3.0, not his original 11.25.

In his original clarification of October 23, Mr. Milstead, as we said, readily recognized the problem, and even spoke of “multiple malpractice on my part,” quite a strong statement for an error obviously made in good faith, and we thank him for his openness. That said, in that clarification, Mr. Milstead continued to present his calculation as legitimate when he qualified the proper ratio (the one including aircraft rents) as an “alternative” valuation to “his” approach. He erroneously backed this position with comments from financial analyst Ben Vendittelli. We suggested that Mr. Vendittelli call Mr. Milstead, which he did. Mr. Vendittelli confirmed that aircraft rents simply cannot be ignored. Mr. Milstead’s original approach is indeed not viable, and the ratio of reference, including aircraft rents, is not an “alternative”. Mr. Vendittelli’s comments were then “unpublished” from the clarification, but the idea of an “alternative” ratio remained in the headline. We contacted Mr. Milstead again on November 1 to ask for the headline to be corrected.

As of November 7, as we address this letter to you, the headline stands incorrect and unchanged, the nature of the update of October 29 remains absent and content was unpublished, all of this being in breach with journalism standards. The Canadian Association of Journalists says: “When we make a mistake, whether in fact or in context, and regardless of the platform, we correct it promptly and in a transparent manner, acknowledging the nature of the error. We publish or broadcast all corrections, clarifications or apologies in a consistent way. We generally do not “unpublish” or remove digital content...”

We would respectfully like to make the following comments.

The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business is a very credible news medium that has a solid and well-deserved following among investors. The original article of October 18, essentially conveying that Transat stock may present risks that are not reflected in its price, or are not well understood by the market, may have had, or may still have, consequences. Did some investors sell? Did others refrain from buying? How many retail brokers or investors marked a little dark cloud above our company? We will never know. But we know for a fact that one of our competitors was quick to tweet a link to Mr. Milstead’s original article to who knows how many people, all of whom will never be advised of the clarification(s) and may have re-tweeted the link. The mention in the paper of a clarification, tiny and inconsequential as it was, and the subsequent versions of the online-only, incomplete clarification, do not even come close to rectifying the problem caused by the original article, prominently displayed with photo and headline.

Our paramount point, in the circumstances, is to deplore the disappearance of fact-checking as standard procedure in journalism.

In this case, we contend that the error, obviously made in good faith, was nevertheless significant, that the original headline was damaging, with possible financial consequences, and we believe there should have been a call made to us in advance of publication to check the facts. Like many large corporations, we have a full-time media officer available, exactly for cases like this. A call from The Globe and Mail would have been returned quickly. Readers would have been better served, and our reputation would have emerged intact.

Please note that this letter will be posted on our website for the benefit of our shareholders.

Best regards,

Michel Lemay
Vice-President, Communications and Corporate Affairs
Transat A.T. Inc.

2012-09-17 - Clarification regarding September 14, 2012, article in La Presse

We wish to issue a clarification regarding information about Transat published in an article in the business section of La Presse on September 14, 2012.

The article suggested that Transat would be reducing capacity for winter 2012 by 10% on its transatlantic routes and by 17% on Sun destination routes. In fact, as the press release issued by Transat on September 13, 2012, clearly states, these numbers apply only to the fourth quarter; i.e., the months of August, September and October 2012.

The article should have stated that Transat is reducing capacity on Sun routes by 7% this winter, as mentioned during the conference call that accompanied the release of the company’s third-quarter results.

At our request, La Presse corrected the error in its September 15, 2012, edition. We thank the newspaper for doing so.

2011-12-21 - Clarification regarding Transat’s product strategy

During the quarterly conference call on December 16, 2011, Transat spoke about a number of initiatives that it is taking to boost profitability. The company explained, for example, that it will be renewing efforts to differentiate its “sun” product, in hopes of being able to sell packages for a few dollars more. The explanations provided were misunderstood by some journalists, as evidenced in expressions such as “Transat turns its back on low prices” (“Transat tourne le dos aux bas prix”) and “Transat eyeing luxury products” (“Transat veut se tourner vers les produits luxueux”).

Over the years, the wintertime getaway to a sunny southern beach has become a must lifestyle option for millions of Canadians. The market is huge, demand is firm and highly resistant to economic downturns, and the competition is extremely fierce, in part because of the near-absence of entry barriers. As a result, a sizable majority of these products sell practically at cost, and profit margins are slim.

The challenge for tour operators has long been to market a holiday experience that consumers perceive as different and that offers added value, especially in this most popular of market segments. It is important to realize that, while an all-inclusive week in the sun can be had for as little as $700 per person (and even less), the true “deluxe” version of this type of product can cost $5,000 per person. Indeed, there are well-known major brands that specialize in high-end travel, a segment that might be defined as anything that sells for $3,500 and up per person per week. The mid-range segment, meanwhile, can be thought of as being in the range of $2,000 to $3,500.

Transat has always vied with its competitors for the biggest market segment in terms of passenger numbers; i.e., trips selling for roughly $1,000 to $1,500 per person per week—or less (far less, even!). That facet of the company’s strategy is not about to change.

What was explained on December 16 is that the company intends to ramp up efforts to differentiate its product—for example, through exclusive agreements with certain hotel chains or an enhanced in-flight experience—with a view to building greater customer loyalty, in a market where tour operators are currently competing mostly on price, with products that often are relatively devoid of distinguishing attractions. Over the medium term, as the senior executives explained, the tour operator’s margin, which is practically non-existent at the moment, could be nudged upward by $10 or $20 per package. In other words, the potential price variation is about 1%. This should therefore under no circumstances be construed as a shift toward luxury products, or a change in market segment, or even a willingness to substantially raise prices.

2011-08-24 - La Presse article – August 23, 2011 (in French only)

Précision sur un article de La Presse du 23 août 2011

Le quotidien La Presse a publié le 23 août 2011 des informations erronées au sujet de Rêvatours, une filiale de Transat spécialisée dans le circuit, qui devient Transat Découvertes à compter du 1er octobre prochain.

Contrairement à ce qui a été publié dans un article de La Presse Affaires, Rêvatours n’est pas présente en France. Depuis maintenant 25 ans, Rêvatours propose au marché québécois des circuits touristiques de qualité aux quatre coins du monde. Tel que mentionné dans le communiqué de presse émis hier par Transat, Rêvatours devient Transat Découvertes à compter du 1er octobre prochain et étend son offre au marché ontarien sous la marque Transat Discoveries.

Le changement de nom de la filiale ne touche aucune filiale en France.

À notre demande, La Presse a corrigé son erreur dans son édition du 24 août 2011. Nous l’en remercions.

2011-04-12 - Le Devoir article – April 12, 2011 (in French only)

Précision sur un article du Devoir du 12 avril 2011

Le quotidien Le Devoir évoque ce matin que nous avons retiré d'un de nos sites Web un « cours accéléré de parler québécois » destiné à nos clients de l'Hexagone. Nous reconnaissons volontiers que ces petites capsules audio étaient inappropriées. L'erreur de parcours a été corrigée rapidement, et nous présentons nos excuses. Histoire d'attribuer à César ce qui lui revient, nous signalons cependant les erreurs du Devoir :  Air Transat, une des 18 filiales de Transat, n'a strictement rien à voir dans la mise au point ou la diffusion de ces capsules, contrairement à ce que Le Devoir affirme en manchette. Celles-ci ont été développées à la demande de Transat France (qui n'est pas une agence de voyages, comme le dit Le Devoir, mais un des plus importants voyagistes en France). Rappelons que le site Web de Transat ( met de l'avant toute l'information permettant de comprendre la structure de notre organisation, y compris dans la section destinée aux journalistes.

2010-09-23 - Clarification – QMI article – September 23, 2010 (in French only)

Mise au point – dépêche de l’Agence QMI – 23 septembre 2010

Une dépêche de l'agence QMI au sujet de l'engagement de Transat dans la lutte à l'exploitation sexuelle des enfants, reprise le 23 septembre 2010, contient de nombreuses erreurs et inexactitudes. Tout d'abord, comme l'indique clairement notre communiqué de presse du 22 septembre, c'est Transat, voyagiste international, qui a signé une entente avec l'organisme spécialisé Au-delà des frontières, et non sa filiale Air Transat. En outre, il est erroné de parler ici de lutte « aux pédophiles », puisque la très grande majorité des gens qui abusent d'enfants ne sont pas des pédophiles. Nous sommes ici au cœur de la question : nombre d'abuseurs commettent un acte criminel impulsif, et c'est ce qu'il faut combattre en informant les gens sur le caractère inacceptable et criminel de ces comportements. Ramener les choses à la pédophilie suggère une grave erreur de perspective. Par ailleurs, le journaliste affirme, erronément et sans que nous puissions retracer sa source, que nous allons installer des « affiches évoquant l'illégalité de la pédophilie » dans des hôtels. Le journaliste n'a pas communiqué avec Transat.

2010-03-26 - Response to an article published in the Ottawa Citizen on March 22

Kathie Stewart’s March 22 story about a passenger on an Air Transat flight out of Montreal bringing relief supplies to Haiti (“Organizations help nurse flying with aid to Haiti; woman loads up on vital supplies for family”) portrays the Canadian airline industry in an unfortunate and unfair light.

Referring to the fact that passengers are limited to 50 kg of luggage and must pay $12 per kg over and above that limit, the reporter states that “ Air Transat has not adjusted excess baggage policies to accommodate travellers bringing supplies to Haiti […] Air Transat allows a maximum of 50 kilograms of personal luggage. Passengers are allowed 32 kilograms of excess baggage, but must pay $12 for each excess kilogram.”

In fact, as was explained to the reporter, Air Transat’s normal luggage allocation is 20 kg. In the case of flights to Haiti, the limit has been set at 50 kg to accommodate our customers travelling there to visiting family and friends. In other words, our policy has been “permanently adjusted” to Haiti’s reality, and allowing more than 50 kg as the base allocation is impractical, as the physical limitations of the aircraft could be quickly reached.

Most important, we would like to point out that Air Transat is regularly solicited by customers who want to bring supplies to our sun destinations for humanitarian reasons, as was the case here. In 95% of cases we agree to accommodate them, allowing an average of up to 20 free additional kg of luggage per passenger. However, our check-in agents are not entitled to grant such special authorizations themselves. Any passenger wishing to benefit from this humanitarian program must make a request in advance, generally by e-mail. Air Transat carries as much as two tonnes of goods to populations in need each year, including for Not Just Tourists (NJT), a regular beneficiary of this program that is quoted in Ms. Stewart’s story.

The reporter quotes someone who we gather is a Canadian Tire customer picked at random, who says: “I think a while back, airlines would have gone out of their way to help their customers, but times have changed.” Given the information provided to the reporter, or available to her by other means, we find this way of concluding the article extremely unfortunate, especially based on an uninformed source with no apparent expertise or authority in the matter.

Following the January 12 earthquake, Air Transat organized four humanitarian flights to Haiti carrying more than 125 tonnes of supplies and hundreds of volunteers, and provided its logistical and financial support to a number of NGOs working on the ground. This included a huge effort by our employees, including flight crews and staffers onboard who took care of Haitian orphans we brought back to Canada. Our employees donated time, clothing and food, as well as money. This information is available in the attached news release (this and others are available to the public on our website). Other airlines, most notably Air Canada, made similar efforts. We resumed our regular flights to Haiti on March 10, and we remain supportive of humanitarian organizations on the ground, providing them with free tickets and free cargo space. This is why we feel Ms. Stewart’s piece, and especially its ending, does a disservice to all the airlines involved in this massive and historic humanitarian effort.

2010-03-12 - Incorrect and incomplete information in Le Devoir and La Presse (in French only)

Information erronée et incomplète dans Le Devoir et La Presse

Les quotidiens Le Devoir et La Presse ont publié le 12 mars des informations erronées et incomplètes au sujet du recours par Transat à des transporteurs autres qu’Air Transat.

Lors d’un point de presse donné le 11 mars, Transat a expliqué que le recours à des transporteurs externes n’est pas nouveau et que la proportion de la capacité qui est ainsi fournie par d’autres transporteurs n’a pas substantiellement changé depuis plusieurs années.

Il a été notamment précisé qu’un grand nombre de liaisons offertes par Transat ne peuvent tout simplement pas être assumées par Air Transat pour des raisons réglementaires. En tant que transporteur canadien, celle-ci n’est pas autorisée à voler de la France, où Transat compte 600 000 clients, vers l’Amérique du Sud, l’Asie, l’Afrique, la Scandinavie, le Royaume-Uni, les États-Unis, etc. En conséquence, le recours à d’autres transporteurs est inévitable.

Par ailleurs, en 2003, Transat s’est engagée dans une stratégie de desserte de marchés régionaux qui exigeait le recours à des petits porteurs, ce qui s’est traduit par le recours à un transporteur externe.

Globalement, environ 50 % des clients de Transat voyagent sur Air Transat. Au départ du Canada, cette proportion est d’environ 75 %, et n’a pas changé substantiellement au fil des années.

Le Devoir n’a pas assisté au point de presse donné le 11 mars par Transat, où la question a été soulevée et s’est méritée une réponse complète, et le journaliste Alexandre Shields n’a pas jugé bon de contacter Transat pour vérifier les informations qui lui ont été transmises de source syndicale.

La Presse a assisté au point de presse du 11 mars, mais la journaliste Hélène Baril publie néanmoins une information erronée lorsqu’elle affirme que la sous-traitance est en croissance chez Transat. Mme Baril ignore entièrement les explications données par Transat à ce sujet, en réponse à une question qu’elle a elle-même posée.

Des demandes de correction seront soumises aujourd’hui aux deux quotidiens.

2010-01-20 - Air Transat humanitarian flight: clarification regarding the source of supplies (in French only)

Vol humanitaire d'Air Transat: Précision sur la provenance du matériel
Montréal, le 20 janvier 2010

Contrairement à ce qu'a annoncé la Société Radio-Canada ce matin, les 40 tonnes de matériel acheminées la nuit dernière vers Haïti par Air Transat ne sont aucunement un cadeau de la Ville de Montréal.

Tel que mentionné dans des communiqués de presse émis hier, ce matériel (de l'eau, des vivres, des vêtements, des fournitures médicales, des couvertures, etc.) provient d'organisations humanitaires, dont la Croix-Rouge canadienne et le Centre d'étude et de coopération internationale (CECI), de fournisseurs d'Air Transat, de SOS Villages d'Enfants et dans une large mesure d'une collecte effectuée auprès des employés d'Air Transat et de Transat. Ce vol est une initiative d'Air Transat. L'appareil a atterri à Port-au-Prince tôt ce matin, comme prévu.

À propos d'Air Transat

Air Transat est le plus important transporteur aérien canadien spécialisé dans les voyages vacances. Chaque année, la société transporte environ 3 millions de passagers vers près de 60 destinations dans 25 pays. La flotte d'Air Transat se compose de 18 appareils Airbus A330 et A310. La société emploie environ 2 000 personnes. Air Transat est une filiale de Transat A.T. inc., un voyagiste international intégré qui compte plus de 60 pays de destination et qui distribue des produits dans plus de 50 pays.