In its quest to get its hands on Transat, Air Canada can now count on unexpected support: the leader of its rival Sunwing.
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In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Stephen Hunter said the transaction would allow the national carrier to better withstand increasingly fierce competition from foreign airlines.
The CEO of Sunwing recalled that Air France and Lufthansa of this world had benefited from generous financial assistance from their national government during the COVID-19 crisis.
However, according to him, these subsidies could allow them to gain market share in the country, while Canadian carriers have to tighten their belts because of the pandemic.
“Our main fear, which we should be wary of, is that all European and international carriers are coming in and taking market share from Canadian airlines. And [cette transaction] would be one way to defend them, ”insisted the leader of the Toronto-based company.
Sunwing offers flights to sunny destinations, making it one of Transat’s main competitors, which however has a greater presence in the European market.
This Quebec flagship, the country’s fourth largest carrier, has been in Air Canada’s sights for a long time.
The company’s buyout had already been approved by Transat shareholders in 2019, but the offer has since been significantly reduced due to the crisis that has afflicted the airline industry since the start of the pandemic.
The main Canadian carrier now intends to acquire Transat for $ 5 per share, while the first agreement offered $ 18 per share.
To become a reality, the new offering has yet to receive approval from regulators in Canada and Europe.
While the Sunwing executive said on Friday he would not oppose it, the WestJet executive this week disagreed.
The Alberta company believes that its survival would be threatened if Air Canada swallowed Transat.