Sunwing CEO states Transat takeover crucial to fend off overseas airways

‘Unless we want Canada completely controlled by overseas carriers, we have to enable this,’ Stephen Hunter, chief executive officer of Sunwing, stated by cellular phone.


Air Canada’s (AC-T) proposed takeover of smaller rival Transat AT Inc. (TRZ-T) has gained aid from an unlikely source – the head of leisure provider Sunwing Airlines Inc.

The mix of Canada’s No. 1 and No. 4 airways will be great for the domestic aviation field, bolstering the global clout of Canada’s flag carrier amid heightened opposition with overseas airlines, suggests Stephen Hunter, chief government officer of Sunwing, a Toronto-based carrier that flies to southern sunshine places.

Air Canada’s takeover of Transat, less than evaluate by regulators in Ottawa and Europe, will be certain Canada’s key airline can stand up to competitors from Air France, Lufthansa and other global carriers, Mr. Hunter claimed. People carriers, propped up by their household nations in the pandemic with billions in loans, grants and other aid, are escalating their shares of the Canadian sector as Canadian carriers slash routes to lower their losses and remain alive.

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Mr. Hunter claimed he supports the offer even even though Sunwing and Transat are direct rivals that provide airfare and tour deals, and the takeover would permit Air Canada to solidify its position as Canada’s dominant airline.

“Unless we want Canada fully controlled by foreign carriers, we have to enable this,” Mr. Hunter claimed by telephone. “Our most important panic is, and what we have acquired to observe out for, is all the European and other intercontinental carriers coming in and having sector share away from Canadian airlines. And this is a single way to protect them.”

Ottawa has delivered wage subsidies to hundreds of laid-off airline staff members, and accessibility to loans, has yet to conclude assist talks with airways.

Jacques Roy, a professor of transportation and logistics at HEC Montreal, explained a combined Air Canada-Transat would pose a formidable rival to Sunwing. “It would have an effect,” Prof. Roy explained. “Air Canada is also marketing seats to Mexico and the Caribbean and so on, and so is Transat. If you set the two alongside one another it will make for more robust competitiveness.”

Mr. Hunter mentioned Sunwing has questioned the government for increased obtain to airport gate slots in Montreal, wherever Air Canada-Transat would command a the greater part presence. But the airline has not opposed the deal, even although Air Canada will turn into the greatest Canadian player in southern markets ought to it continue.

Sunwing is dominant in Mexican, South American and Caribbean markets. Transat flies south but has a bigger existence in Spain, Portugal and other European getaway spots.

Mr. Hunter is self-confident the airline launched by his father, Colin Hunter, will persist. “Competition is wholesome,” Mr. Hunter stated. “I do not brain no matter whether it is Transat, Air Canada or WestJet. We will compete as we have done in the previous 20 several years with any of them.”

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Privately owned Sunwing utilized about 2,700 people just before the pandemic upended the international aviation organization and despatched world desire for seats down by about 90 per cent. Sunwing halted flights in late March and resumed in November. Sunwing’s fleet is made up of 12 leased Boeing 737-800s, fifty percent of which are in storage, and four leased Boeing 737 Max jets, none of which are in provider, according to aviation consultancy Cirium.

Air Canada’s $180-million takeover of Transat is awaiting approval by the European Commission’s antitrust regulator and Canada’s federal cabinet. Decisions, which could include rejection or acceptance with attached ailments, are anticipated in the coming days or months. Feb. 15 is the day on which the offer could fall apart without agreement from both providers.

Sunwing’s aid, manufactured in submissions to the federal government, contrasts with that of WestJet Airlines Ltd., the second-most significant airline. The Calgary-dependent carrier has urged regulators on both equally sides of the Atlantic to reject the offer, or impose situations that would loosen Air Canada’s grip on seat sales and airport slots.

Canada’s Competitors Bureau in March criticized the takeover as undesirable for purchaser alternative, noting the blended companies would command 60 for each cent of transatlantic travel from Canada and lowered competitiveness or a monopoly on 83 routes amongst Canada and Europe, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Florida and South The united states.

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