Montreal-based Transat A.T. will become Canada's largest travel agency operator with the purchase of Thomas Cook Travel's Canadian travel agency network.

Transat operates charter airline Air Transat and has tour operations in Canada and France.

The deal includes 190 travel agencies, 124 of which are franchised and 66 owned, under the Thomas Cook and Marlin Travel banners. Thomas Cook has five Ottawa locations and Marlin has three outlets. The deal also includes 22 foreign exchange offices, 19 of which are inside the travel agencies.

"With this acquisition, Transat is strengthening its presence in Ontario and Western Canada, which is in line with our growth strategy and our business model," CEO Jean-Marc Eustache said in a statement.

Transat's current travel agency network includes 102 Club Voyages agencies, 62 Voyages en Liberte agencies, 53 TravelPlus agencies, in addition to 22 Tripcentral.ca agencies and the Exit.ca online travel agency. Once the acquisition is complete, Transat will have 430 travel outlets across Canada.

Source: Ottawa Business Journal