April 23rd, 2024

Transat CEO lost out on half a million dollars in compensation due to federal loans

By The Canadian Press on March 21, 2024.

People look on as an Air Transat plane takes off at Trudeau in Montreal on June 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Conditions on federal loans to Transat A.T. Inc. mean the tour operator’s CEO lost out on nearly half a million dollars in compensation last year.

A document prepared by the Montreal-based company for its shareholders shows that strings attached to $743 million in emergency loans from Ottawa during the pandemic deprived chief executive Annick Guérard of $489,500 in cash in 2023.

Transat secured emergency loans from the federal government in 2021 and 2022 as COVID-19 border closures battered the airline industry and pushed the travel company to suspend operations for six months.

The loans required companies, including Air Canada, Porter Airlines and Sunwing Vacations, to cap total compensation for senior executives at 2019 levels, or $1 million if they joined the C-suite later.

To incentivize executives to stay on board in a shaky time, Transat offered them three-year deferred bonuses in 2020. But because the loan has yet to be paid off, its income restrictions still apply, leaving Guérard with a mere $1.9 million in total compensation.

Transat has struggled to get off the ground smoothly post-pandemic, as fears of a strike and grounded Airbus planes due to an engine recall ate away at bookings last quarter, all under a total debt of nearly $2 billion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRZ)

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