Air Transat boosts service to Central America for winter 2016-17

MONTREAL – Holiday airline Air Transat plans to boost its service to Central America, a region it says is booming in popularity among Canadians.

Unveiling its winter 2016-17 program, the Montreal-based airline announced new routes to San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, from Montreal and to Roatan in Honduras from Quebec City.

The airline said it will also introduce flights from Toronto to Managua, Nicaragua, and Cartagena, Colombia, and increase the frequency of flights on existing routes to San Jose, Costa Rica, from Montreal and Toronto.

New domestic flights from Bagotville, Que., and Rouyn-Noranda, Que., will allow travellers to connect in Montreal for sun destinations, Air Transat said.

A total of 11 new routes will be added, including Vancouver to Los Cabos, Mexico; Victoria to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Ottawa to Cayo Coco, Cuba; Windsor, Ont., to Santa Clara, Cuba; Fredericton to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Halifax to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Curacao has been dropped from the schedule, and other destinations, including Dominican Republic and Cuba, will see fewer flights, said Air Transat marketing director Debbie Cabana.

Overall capacity to sun destinations will be about the same as for 2015-16, Cabana said Tuesday.

Central America is becoming more popular, with visitors seeking all-inclusive holidays or renting apartments and buying flights only, she said.

“There’s a trend there, so that is the reason why we’re increasing the capacity to Central America.”

The airline said changes to its transatlantic service include increasing the frequency of flights to London from Toronto — a route that will see daily service, up from five flights a week last winter — and from Vancouver, which moves to two flights weekly as of December, up from one last season.