COVID-19 Update: Transat, Hola Sun and More


Transat to Operate Special El Salvador, Guatemala Flights

Air Transat has announced the deployment of two special flights over the next few days to return Canadians stranded in El Salvador and Guatemala back home.

These flights, operated in collaboration with the Government of Canada, are in addition to those already planned by the airline.

“To date, our repatriation flights have brought approximately 46,000 customers back home, and this number will continue to rise in the coming days,” says Jean-Marc Eustache, president and chief executive officer of Transat. “From this time forward, all our efforts will be dedicated to achieving a single goal — to safely repatriate as many Canadians as possible.”

There will be a flight from San Salvador to Montreal on March 27, aboard a Boeing 737-800. There will also be a flight from Guatemala City to Montreal on March 27, aboard an Airbus A321-200.

Canadians who would like to book seats on these flights should contact Global Affairs Canada by calling 613-996-8885 or by e-mailing [email protected].

Hola Sun Updates Final Payment Policy

Hola Sun has reduced its final payment due date to 25 days prior to departure instead of the normal 45 days.

This new policy is valid for all departures between May 1 and June 30, and only applicable to packages and air-only bookings. The policy is for individual bookings only and does not apply to group bookings.

Note that changes and cancellations are as per the company’s normal policies.


Securing Finance Key to Cruise Industry Survival

Securing finance will be key to cruise industry survival amid coronavirus pandemic, says GlobalData.

This comes following the news that Royal Caribbean has agreed a $2.2B loan facility with banks to shore up cash flows as the coronavirus pandemic hits travel companies.

Ben Cordwell, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offered this view on the situation, “Given that cruise operations could be restricted for months it is crucial that businesses secure finance to ensure they can navigate a period of great uncertainty.

“A look at ‘cash and cash equivalents’ between the three biggest cruise operators found that Royal Caribbean had US$243.7 M, Norwegian US$225 M and Carnival US$518 M. Although this gives companies a certain degree of security, the costs of running a cruise line are enormous and these outgoings will begin to take their toll.

“One serious problem that cruise companies will need to address is their importance to economies. The aviation industry, railways, car manufacturers and banks generally contribute more to a nation’s economy than the cruise sector. This may lead to governments prioritizing these industries, meaning that cruises are offered less in terms of financial support.

“This makes it even more important for cruise businesses to secure finance rather than expect to be helped by governments if the need arises. It will not come as a surprise to see more companies following the lead of Royal Caribbean and borrow large amounts to further bolster their liquidity.”

Holiday Inn Montego Bay to Close Through May

In light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and its effects on travel to Jamaica, the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay will close on a temporary basis effective March 27 through May 31.

Managing Director Kevin Hendrickson issued the following statement elaborating on the temporary closure.

“Our dedicated team will be contacting all guests with existing reservations to alleviate any concerns they might have and assist with rescheduling plans for future dates of travel. Additionally, new reservations will not be accepted during the temporary period of closure.

“It is our intention to resume operations on June 1. However, as circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on global airlift remain beyond our control, we reserve the option to adjust our plans. We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and provide updates as warranted.”