A few months ago, I wrote about the poor quarterly showing of Air Transat. In that article, I mentioned that despite the financial loss on paper, the outlook still looked bright as many of the causes didn’t have a lot to do with performance or passenger traffic but rather higher operating costs such as fuel and expenses that had been incurred due to restructuring and the retrofitting of their fleet. Recently at Toronto’s Pearson Intl Airport, Air Transat invited Travel Agents in for the unveiling of the latest member to their fleet, a fully redesigned A330 upgraded with modern features all designed to enhance the customer experience while improving cost efficiency and addressing environmental concerns. At a cost of $ 4million per aircraft, some of the highlights of the upgrades are:
The Cabin has been redesigned and configured with ergonomically designed leather seats with more legroom to remove the “sardine” effect which is especially noticeable on longer haul flights. Taking a page out of Virgin’s book, mood lighting has been installed throughout the cabin to create a calming effect during the stages of takeoff, service and landing as well as night and long-haul flights.
Club Class seating has received an overhaul with wider seats with six-way movable headrests for extra comfort and the removal of 9 Club Class seats provides more leg-room. In-flight entertainment is available on individual 12″ touch screens adding modern technology for as well as individual power source and storage space for cell phones, tablets and magazines.
Economy Class becomes an all new experience with larger ergonomic seats that provide more legroom without changing the seat pitch. Four-way movable headrests have been for better neck support and comfort. In-flight a la carte entertainment is via individual 9″touch screens
Going greener was a big part in the planning in the refurbishment of the aircraft. Annually, there will be 852000 kilograms of CO2 less in the atmosphere per plane due to the reduced weight. The use of lighter leather seats eliminates to need for chemical cleaners to clean upholstery. The floors of the aircraft are made from durable laminate flooring and recyclable carpeting. Lighting within the cabin is longer lasting, energy-efficient LED bulbs and the cabin itself is painted with water-based paints. The improvements are just some of the ways that Air Transat is keeping in line with its environmental stewardship philosophy.
From the feedback received at the launch, this is a positive step for Air Transat and their customers. Comfort and a positive flying experience were something customers suffered from on most charters and it is the public that will benefit the most from the changes, especially on long-haul flights. Air Transat stands to save $313000 in operating costs per plane annually and looks forward to a return to profitability in the years ahead.