Air Transat Launches Québec City To London Flights With The Airbus A321LR

Seven minutes before midnight on May 11th, leisure operator Air Transat took off from Québec City to London Gatwick. Six Canadian cities are now served non-stop from London across all airlines and airports.

Air Transat begins Québec City-London

Soon after beginning Montréal to Amsterdam, Air Transat has started its next long-haul route: from Québec City to London Gatwick. Operating 1x weekly, it runs summer-seasonally from Canada between May 11th and September 28th. Its last flight from London is September 29th.

The 3,125-mile (5,029km) airport pair is above the 3,000-mile threshold to be a long-haul route. However, this summer, it is the fifth-shortest of 68 UK-North America routes, beaten only by Glasgow-Halifax, London Heathrow-Halifax, London Gatwick-Halifax, and Edinburgh-Boston.

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Operated by 199-seat seat A321LRswith 12 business seats (not fully lie-flat) and 187 in economy, Gatwick’s schedule is as follows, with all times local:

  • Québec City to London Gatwick: Wednesdays, TS492, 23: 55-11: 20 + 1 (6h 25m block time)
  • London Gatwick to Québec City: Thursdays, TS493, 13: 05-15: 35 (7h 30m)

The first flight is en route when writing. When this image was taken, it was 3h 32m in, with 1h 31m left. It uses C-GOIK, a 1.9-year-old A321LR, which positioned from Montréal. Image: Flightradar24.

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“A dream come true”

When Gatwick was announced last year, Stéphane Poirier, President and CEO of Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, said the route was “a dream come true.” You can see why. While Paris will always be number one, London was Québec City’s largest unserved European market.

According to booking data, London had around 12,000 round-trip point-to-point passengers in 2019 (excluding those leaked to Montréal), with Canada a slightly larger point of sale. More traveled to / from London than to Lyon or any other French airport except CDG.

Read more: The World’s Longest Narrowbody Flights

Of course, Québec City to London is highly summer-seasonal, with three times as many passengers in the peak month as the nadir, hence Air Transat’s time-limited offer and 42 roundtrip flights.

With its 199-seat aircraft, it’ll have 8,358 seats to fill. It should have little problem stimulating demand with its non-stops and lower fares. In 2019, the average one-way fare was CAD $ 443 ($ 340), excluding taxes and any fuel surcharges. Returns with Air Transat are from CAD $ 583 ($ 445) in ‘Eco Budget,’ excluding a checked bag, no seat assignment, etc.

Gatwick is Air Transat’s second Europe route from Québec City. It joins the long-standing Paris CDG, which resumed on April 10th. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Canada to London

OAG shows 2.1 million roundtrip non-stop seats for sale between Canada and London this summer. Not surprisingly, about half are provided by Air Canada (49% of the market), followed by WestJet (22%), British Airways (19%), and Air Transat (11%).

Six Canadian airports are served. In order of seats, they are Toronto (42%), Vancouver (24%), Montréal (16%), Calgary (13%; WestJet recently added it from Heathrow), Halifax (5%), and Québec City (0.4%).

There are no more non-stops from Edmonton, Ottawa, St John’s, or Winnipeg. Might Air Canada use its incoming A321XLRs to relaunch some of these to Heathrow?

Will you be flying across the North Atlantic this summer? If so, comment where you’re going and with which operator.


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