Thomas Cook collapse means headaches for Transat as partnership deal dies
Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, September 23, 2019 11:18AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 23, 2019 12:09PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Transat Inc. could face fallout from the collapse of Thomas Cook Group Plc after a partnership between the companies died Monday.
The tour operator, which runs Air Transat, was in the second year of a seven-year deal to exchange aircraft with the British company's airline on a seasonal basis.
The Montreal-based company was slated to receive at least seven jetliners from Thomas Cook this fall, but "the partnership is dead because the company no longer exists," said Transat spokesman Christophe Hennebelle.
He said Transat, which is working to complete its takeover by Air Canada next year, is "confident" the Airbus A321 planes will still come through, but is nonetheless making contingency plans.
"We're not waiting until the last minute. We're working to receive the planes, and at the same time we're thinking of other plans to make sure that the schedule will be respected," Hennebelle told The Canadian Press.
About 600,000 travellers were stranded across the world Monday after Thomas Cook collapsed, immediately halting almost all its flights and hotel services and laying off all its employees as the company ceased trading.
The liquidation of the 178-year-old airline and tour operator, which helped create the package tour industry, will have sweeping effects across the entire European and North African tourism industry and elsewhere, as hotels worried about being paid and confirmed bookings for high-season winter resorts were suddenly in doubt.
Nasim Lalji, who lives in Brampton, Ont., was scheduled to take a Thomas Cook flight from London to Turkey next week with her husband until the flight was cancelled Monday.
The couple, who paid about $307 each for the trip, said they were promised a full reimbursement and were in the process of rebooking with another airline Monday morning. "But that is going to cost us way more than what our initial price was," Lalji said in a phone interview.
Flights from London to Turkey's Dalaman Airport costing less than $500 early Monday morning rose to nearly $600 a few hours later, she said.
"Every minute you delay booking your flight, the prices go up...because everybody is now trying to find other options," Lalji said. "It is a major inconvenience."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 23, 2019.
-- With files from The Associated Press