The federal government announced today it has approved the takeover of Air Transat by Air Canada.

“Given the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the air industry, the proposed purchase of [Air] Transat by Air Canada will bring greater stability to Canada’s air transport market,” said Canada’s transport minister, Omar Alghabra, in a statement.

The takeover “will be accompanied by strict conditions which will support future international competition, connectivity and protect jobs,” he added.

Transport Canada conducted a public interest assessment, as well as consultation with Canadians and stakeholder groups as part of the approval process, and the takeover is subject to a number of terms and conditions.

In determining its approval of the purchase, the government said it considered a broad range of factors, such as level of service, wider social and economic implications, the financial health of the air transportation sector, and competition.

In its announcement, the government noted that this past December, Air Transat admitted that “current uncertainty casts doubt on its ability to continue, as it faces significant financing challenges.”

And with the adverse effects the pandemic has had on air travel in general – and particularly for Air Transat – the federal government said it believes the acquisition offers the “best probable outcomes for workers, for Canadians seeking service and choice in leisure travel, and for other Canadian industries that rely on air transport.”

As for Air Transat customers who are are still waiting for refunds for flights cancelled due to COVID-19, the government said it will continue to “take into account” the needs of Air Transat customers, as the deal proceeds, although no further specific details were provided.


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