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Air Transat wants to conquer businessmen through travel agencies

Attract SMEs-SMIs working with Canada

Thanks to its network of flights to Paris and the province, Air Transat now wishes to attract SMEs-SMIs that work with Canada. Clients that it hopes to seduce thanks to the distribution networks with which it has intensified its relations.

Rédigé par Mathilde Khlat translated by Joséphine Foucher le Samedi 28 Juin 2014

The Canadian company Air Transat is struggling to find a new aircraft model that could replace its Airbuses A 310 that are nearing their end. DR
The Canadian company Air Transat is struggling to find a new aircraft model that could replace its Airbuses A 310 that are nearing their end. DR
Air Transat maintains its goals on the French market. For the 2014 season, the company has already filled 70% of its planes and reservations remain stable.

It insures not having been affected by the arrival of Air Canada rouge in Nice.

“Obviously, it’s never pleasant to see a competitor turn-up on one of our historic routes. But the company's arrival has not impacted our fill rates nor our yield” assured Lydia Morinaux, the France director.

However, the company still keeps an eye on the low-cost competitor, that has the capacities necessary to rise in power.

Air Transat has in turn asked for the help of the Nice airport in order to launch a communication campaign on the destination of Canada.

Because today, with the 320,000 French travelers carried in 2013, the company covers 52% of flights between France and Montreal.

Between April and October 2014, it offered 271,000 seats on the destination, 185,200 of which were for the city of Quebec.

Its direct sales on its website represent 40% of its activity, 12% go through the inhouse tour operator (Transat has barely any relations with other TOs) while GDS represent 40% of the volume.

The remaining 4% is towards flight only groups and 4% for individual sales done by the inhouse TO on the btob website.

Closer relationships with the distribution network

Air Transat links Canada to Paris and 7 cities from the province: Bordeaux, Bâle-Mulhouse, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Toulouse.

A network that allows it to seduce regional travel agencies.

“Since 4 years, we have highly developed our relationships with the distribution network to limit our dependency on online agencies” explains Jean-François Lemay, the CEO of Air Transat.

This closer collaboration, especially with Selectour Afat, has allowed him to target a new clientele: that of SMEs-SMIs.

“We wish to attract these clients through a “best buy” logic and those who could be interested in our offers. It take tremendous work” admits Lydia Morinaux, the France director.

Despite that, the company does not intend to let go of its leisure DNA. “The business travel component on our line remains minimal, even though our new and more flexible sales policies could interest this clientele” continues Jean-François Lemay.

No lounge at CDG yet

However, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to seduce a large pool of businessmen.

The company lacks a loyalty program and a lounge at the terminal 3 of Charles de Gaulle Airport.

“The Paris Airport has mentioned the construction of a lounge that could open by 2015. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself as long at the construction isn’t finished” says Lydia Morinaux.

There is also the issues with the hours that evolve depending on the availability of the fleet.

Air Transat has to juggle between its summer transatlantic lines, operated thanks to 21 Airbuses A330 and A310 and its winter destinations with Boeings 737. “Our system of a double fleet allows us to have a good type of aircraft serving the right type of market” explains Jean-François Lemay.

In order to operate these lines in the south (Caribbean and Mexico) the company passed a contract with Transavia to rent four B 737 and is currently negotiating with Europe Airpost and SunExpress to find four more.

As for its A310 that are nearing 25 years of age, the company is beginning some strategic thinking for their replacement.

“Airbus has assured us that they’ll be able to still fly until 2025. Because today it is difficult to find an aircraft model that does the missions of the A310 at an affordable price.”

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