Thomas Cook Airlines has signed a new deal to share aircraft according to seasonal demand with a Canadian vertically-integrated tour operator.
The seven-year deal with Transat AT, which owns Air Transat, will see the Thomas Cook make a “number of” Airbus A321s available to the Canadians each winter.
They will then receive at least one wide-body Airbus A330-200 in return.
The swap will be undertaken on a dry lease basis, meaning Thomas Cook will have to provide the cockpit and cabin crews, while the aircraft will be fully rebranded.
It is hoped the deal will mean Thomas Cook will be able to better service the winter sun transatlantic market with the bigger aircraft, while Air Transat can use the narrow-bodied aircraft for the shorter hops to the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida.
Christoph Debus, the chief airline officer for the Thomas Cook Group, said: “The new partnership provides additional growth opportunities for our airline, and again demonstrates how Thomas Cook Group is transforming through partnerships.
“By taking advantage of the complementary seasonal demand in North America and Europe, we will be able to operate additional long-haul flights during winter and better balance the seasonal demand for our short and medium-haul aircraft, resulting in more cost efficiency and choice for our customers.”
Transat president and chief executive Jean-Marc Eustache added: “This agreement marks a new step in the reconfiguration of our fleet.
“It allows us to improve our flexible-fleet model, making it even more efficient.
“Our fleet will eventually consist solely of Airbus A330 and aircraft from the A320 family, such as the A321, which will mean a more harmonised travel experience for our customers as well as lower operating costs.”