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MONTREAL — Transat has temporarily shuttered its travel agencies due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to operate repatriation flights until April 1 to bring stranded Canadians home.
The news was confirmed in an official letter penned by Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat, a 40-year tourism industry veteran who has “weathered many storms” since founding Transat.
“I can say one thing with confidence: our experience and resilience will help us overcome this crisis and emerge stronger than ever,” he writes.
In detailing Transat’s global efforts amid the pandemic, Eustache notes that the airline has begun the gradual suspension of its flights until the temporary cessation of operations on April 1.
“It was important for us that this slowdown happen gradually, to allow as many travellers as possible to be repatriated to their countries of origin,” he adds.
To date, Transat’s repatriation flights have brought home approximately 46,000 customers, a number that will continue to rise in the coming days. In addition to these repatriation flights, Transat will also operate special flights over the next few days in collaboration with the Government of Canada.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our flight crews who, under these stressful and difficult conditions, continue their extraordinary efforts to reassure our passengers and reunite them with their loved ones,” says Eustache.
Noting the longer-than-usual wait times that customers are experiencing on the phone and social media, Eustache assures that Transat’s customer service agents are working as quickly as possible to answer questions. To date, agents have responded to more than 120,000 phone calls and social media messages since the crisis began.
And though Voyages Transat/Transat Travel agencies have closed their doors until further notice, agents are still available by phone or email.
“If you need to get in touch with your travel adviser, we invite you to consult with your agency’s website or social media to find out how to proceed,” adds Eustache. “Your adviser will do their best to respond to you as quickly as possible.”
As for what’s to come in the coming weeks, Eustache says it’s still too early to say – but he is confident that operations will resume shortly.
“In these difficult times, our hearts go out to all of you,” he adds. “We know that you’re going through a situation that none of us have experienced before. I hope you will get through it with your loved ones, in good health. And I sincerely hope that the time will soon come when the joy of vacationing will once again brighten your everyday.”