Monday, June 13, 2016

Air Transat gears up for Zagreb launch


Canada's Air Transat will introduce flights from Toronto to Zagreb tomorrow, marking the resumption of transatlantic services from the Croatian capital. The airline marked the upcoming launch with a cruise on Lake Ontario where the airline's Business Development Representative, Susan Kooiman, said the route is being targeted at leisure travellers. "Consumers said they wanted something different. So we’re delivering something different. We wanted to make sure it [Zagreb] doesn’t become an air-only destination. It’s a gorgeous country and there’s so much to explore and so much to do". The carrier's leisure division is offering both seven and fourteen-night travel packages to various cities across Croatia in order to ensure the route's success. Furthermore, it has concluded deals with eighteen hotels in the country.

Air Transat will operate the service once per week until October 4. Although the carrier says it currently has no plans to extend the flights throughout the winter, the Canadian Ambassador to Croatia, Daniel Maksymiuk, notes there is potential for the service to continue past the peak travel period and for frequencies to be increased. It will be the second year in a row that Zagreb has been linked to Toronto. During the summer of 2015, SkyGreece Airlines launched flights from Canada's largest city to the Croatian capital. However, the service was cut short as a result of the airline's bankruptcy.

Air Transat A330-300 economy class cabin

Since launching sales last September, Air Transat has seen strong demand for the service. "There is a high level of interest and booking numbers are very good. There is a big Croatian community in Toronto and we can feel the interest from Croatian travellers from both sides (Europe and Canada)", Debbie Cabana, Air Transat's Marketing Director, said. The airline recently upgraded its equipment on the route from an Airbus A330-200 to the slightly larger -300 series. The 375-seat jet features a two cabin layout, with twelve seats in business class (Club Class) and a further 363 in economy featuring personal entertainment systems with a selection of movies, TV programs and music, as well as in-built USB ports.

Air Transat faces no direct competition on the route. Last year, Star Alliance partners Croatia Airlines and Air Canada expanded their codeshare partnership, offering travellers better connections between their respective countries. The Croatian carrier placed its flight numbers and designator code onto a handful of Air Canada services including those from Toronto to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London Heathrow, Paris and Zurich; from Montreal to Brussels, London Heathrow and Paris, as well as from Calgary, Halifax and Vancouver to London (and vice versa). In return, Air Canada placed its “AC” designator code and flight numbers onto Croatia Airlines’ services from Zagreb to Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, London Heathrow, Paris and Zurich. Furthermore, Air Canada codes appear on the Croatian carrier’s flights from Dubrovnik to Paris and Rome and from Split to London, Paris, Rome and Zurich.


Air Transat will commence services to Zagreb tomorrow night (local time), with the arrival scheduled at 11.00 CEST on Wednesday. The aircraft will then turn around in just under two hours and land in Toronto at 17.15 that same day. The carrier offers connecting flight to and from Montreal. “We are proud to be the only North American airline offering a direct flight to Croatia, and are committed to enhancing our destination lineup each year with attractive new options that set us apart”, Annick Guérard, President and General Manager of Transat Tours Canada, noted.

64 comments:

  1. They could have tried at least 2 p/w. I'm sure there would be enough passengers.

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    Replies
    1. 2 p/w would have been nice.

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    2. probably next year, twice weekly service. However did you read the article, 375 seats, that is massive.

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  2. Great news. Can't wait to see them at ZAG :)

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  3. Has anyone here bought a ticket with them?

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    1. For those that did be prepared to feel like a sardine literally.

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    2. Their cabin looks nice actually.

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    3. Pitch is quite tight.

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    4. Tight ?? are you for real ?? This is a case of people just waiting for a case of DVT to show itself...

      My advice for anyone travelling on this airline in this configuration - make sure you have purchased travel/health insurance before stepping onboard

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    5. Typical A333 seating 2-class layout is 335. Having siad that, usually 2-class layout means either more than 12 business seats or at least business seats that do not only recline but have lie flat option!

      With 375 seats on board it seems seat pitch is tighter than average.
      However, keep in mind 440 seats are possible in that type of bird (although in one-class config).

      Here are the actual seat pitches on A333 (if not otherweise stated) in eco class as of today according to official source (seatguru.com):

      - Air France 32'
      - Aer Lingus 31,5'
      - Air Berlin 30' (A332)
      - Air Canada 31,5
      - Etihad 32,25'
      - KLM 31'
      - Iberia 31'
      - Turkish 32'
      - Qatar 33'
      - Lufthansa 31,5'
      - Swiss 32'

      And Air Transat: 32,5'

      Btw, what about JU A330? I could not find any reliable info on that.

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    6. Seat width is gonna be a bigger issue; A330s are normally configured 2-4-2, not 3-3-3. 2-4-2 gives you 18' seat width so I wish the very best of luck to people stuck in 3-3-3.

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  4. Shame it won't be all year round.

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    1. My guess is they are testing the market and it will probably go year-round from 2017.

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  5. What are the fares like? Are they competitive against Star Alliance options or the OU/AC codeshare?

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    Replies
    1. Paid $650 American

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    2. Good price.

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    3. I got the ticket when the Canadian dollar crashed to about 0.70 U.S. cents.

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  6. Do they have an additional crew onboard for the return flight?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I'm interested how that works out too. I doubt they stay in ZAG for a week.

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  7. Congrats Zagreb. Hopefully the US is next.

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    1. Why ?

      OU CEO recently said that Croatians don't need a direct air link to the US since they already have many 1-stop options today, which more than meets their needs

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    2. What else is he going to say when they can't do it themselves and have no means to start something like this ?

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    3. Wait a sec - i can see another press release coming the OU CEO to announce new plans for yet another variation of their fleet. This time, to announce possible plans for long haul flying.

      Add it to the long list of "nothing concrete so far"

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  8. I think they just test Croatian market, but this plane upgrade hints that their LF will be quite high, so the begining is promising. I am also sure they will at least double this rotation from 2017, they probably wait for new terminal to be open. I cannot imagine the rush when 300+ pax fills up the old terminal.

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    Replies
    1. What happens when Korean Air lands with B747?

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    2. The old terminal can take it, I often fly though and it has enough room for around 700 pax per hour - 5 passport control boots, each handling around 180 pax per hour. Or around 900~ for all 5, enough for several jumbo jets. Problem will be if there's JAL, Korean Air, Air Transat, and than 7-8 A320/B737s all coming at the same time. Than passport control can be overwhelmed and things can take bit of time. Worst time to get in is between 11 - 2 in the afternoon, 17-21 in the evening, when there could be up to 12 flights coming in. Customs needs to go through 1500-2000 passport checks.

      New terminal will have up to 20 (could increase if there's need for more, up to 32) passport/customs boots and should be able to handle up to 4000 pax per hour.


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  9. For Example pristina to USA or Canada his would be great.

    AirSerbia should absolutely launch flihts to Pristina.

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    Replies
    1. 10k do not justified such move.

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  10. I think we might even see them in BEG next year. Their GSA for the region is based in Serbia.

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  11. Hope not to see AT in BEG. They are horrible..check in line in YYZ are insane..like you can be stuck in line for up to 3 hrs..seats are super tight and no legroom..food is beyond terrible. .maintenence issues non stop...they will not go to ZAG winter time and there are many reasons.. they did try FCO ones or 2 but no success so that 330 is making tons of money on CUN and VRA flights. Good luck tomorrow but feel bad for people on that flight

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    1. Is their business class a separate product or it's also economy class seats with the middle seat blocked like on European short hauls?

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    2. I agree with Hot Lane regarding winter ops. They will make much more money sending their birds to the Caribbean then Zagreb in the middle of winter.

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    3. @Hot LaneJune 13, 2016 at 11:02 AM

      Do you know what the pitch is ? I thought it was 32inch like with most airlines.

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    4. I do not know the seat pitch but I went to Santa Clara island in Cuba and it was so uncomfortable. We had no legroom at all...like 28 pitch or less..I honestly hate flying with them.

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    5. AT has Club Class with seats similar to Premium Economy or regular seats with extra legroom for $50 extra.

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  12. Even when Sky Greece Airlines used to fly last year it was packed. Remember Sky Greece was an unknown start up. So I can imagine that bookings are going well for Air Transat, especially since they also offer tour packages. Flying once per week during the winter could work. I hope they do.

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    1. In my opinion they should be smart and more flexible with their frequencies and adjust more towards the customers' needs. Those are leisure pax which "behave" quite seasonal.
      If they were to offer it year-round it means they would bleed between mid-Jan and end March and beginning of Nov and mid Dec.

      Therefore they should offer as stated below:

      YYZ-ZAG
      01Apr-15Jun 1pw
      16Jun-30Sep 2pw
      01Oct-31Oct 1pw
      16Dec-15Jan 2pw

      YYZ-DBV
      01May-15Oct 1pw

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  13. My favorite Air Crash Investigation episode was the Air Transat Flight 236

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    1. It would better fit the Mayday series since there was no crash on their flight 236.

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    2. it is Mayday, or Air Crash Investigations, depending on country and TV network

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  14. Air Transat offers people the opportunity to purchase a ticket to say Prague and for you to return from Zagreb and charges as one return ticket which is really good for tourists. They also fly to Budapest. So a person can book a ticket to BUD, spend a few days there, go to Zagreb and return from there to Toronto.

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    1. it is called open jaw, a thing that is very common with many airlines. would be more interesting to know if Air Transat is going to maintain any codeshare links via ZAG.

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  15. 3-3-3 configuration -.-

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  16. Ja mislim da ce od sledece godine leteti 2 pw ali da ce opet biti sezonski posto su takva kompanija i imaju letova za Karibik koji im se mnogo vise isplate.
    Steta sto se CTN nije dogovorio sa AC da oni lete .
    INN-NS

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    1. Let za Toronto je izrazito sezonskog karaktera i tesko da moze da bude profitabilan van sezone.

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    2. Tacno, ali je Toronto u sezoni lakse napuniti nego Njujork.

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  17. OT: SKP-May: 148 562, +26,87%

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    1. oh wow! crazy growth!

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    2. That's almost as much as Zagrab.

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    3. But not as much as Boograd.

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    4. It's interesting that SKP had more passengers than PRN in May. But I doubt that it will have more passengers in the following months.

      Also, combined SKP and PRN made about 290k in May, more than ZAG, and considering that Kosovo and Macedonia have some 3.5-4 mil. citizens, the results of both the airports especially that close one to another are very good.

      What would have been if it was one airport instead of two...

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    5. Croaia has seven airports not one,so I don't see your point?

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    6. This wasn't an attack on ZAG or Croatia. It was only a comparison, and visualizing the potential of SKP and PRN, compared to ZAG as a... well, one of the regional capital airports that doesn't rely generally on tourism, like Split and Dubrovnik. ZAG serves that region of ex-yu , BEG has its own.. And SKP and PRN actually share one, so if u combine them you can actually look at them the same way as ZAG and BEG.

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    7. Well it is not that simple. Lot of passengers from ZAG actually use Ryanair routes from Zagreb, Rijeka, easyJet from Split, and lot of other companies from Pula, Rijeka, Zadar and Split. Mostly passengers from Zagreb use Ryanair from Zadar, but trust me so many ZG plates can be seen in SPU, RJK, PUY...

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    8. Never understood the argument 'Croatia has seven airport so that's why Zagreb's numbers are weak(er).'

      It's not like every single Croat would fly out of Zagreb if his hometown didn't have an airport. There are so many options all around the country. Zagreb only started to wake up under new management.

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    9. @Nemjee - not sure if I understood your point ? Yes, there are many options to fly out of Croatia, hence the reason why the traffic is not concentrated on Zagreb Airport only. During winter time, it's quite the opposite - during that time most Croats use ZAG due to the poor connectivity from other airports. Average number of daily flights in ZAG during winter (except Saturdays which are traditionally 20% slower) is 45/46 flights a day, while in the summer it is around 55/56 per day... So, not much of a change. Most "change" in connectivity happens on the coast.

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  18. OT - Wouldn't have been the A330-300 more suitable for Air Serbia and its transatlantic ops?

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    1. Ne treba se u pocetku zalecati .
      Po meni A333 najvise bi se isplatio na JFK,LAX i PEK.
      INN-NS

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    2. Pa zar nisi ti cicko prvi predlagao A333?

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    3. Ne nisam predlagao sam ga za linije LAX i PEK .
      Prvi Avion sto sam predlagao za ASL to nije bio A333 nego B788 ili A332.
      INN-NS

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    4. A333 on BEG-LAX with a half payload..
      :))))

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    5. The loads would be bad probably, but the A330-300 can do BEG-LAX without weight restriction if that is what you meant. SU is flying this route with a A330-300

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    6. Super, a ko ce da napuni A333?

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    7. @ano, 7:28 pm:
      no! Aeroflot is operating this route with 777-300ER, in winter with A330-200.

      It's not "funny" to operate a 2 class A330-300 on that route, especially in summer time.

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