MONTREAL — Air Transat and VIA Rail Canada are streamlining their service schedules in hopes of encouraging travellers to buy tickets that combine both modes of transport.In a news release this week, the companies said they’re hoping the partnership will encourage Canadians to take advantage of both air and rail travel.Air Transat said in June that it is looking to reduce costs and differentiate its offering after plans to turn a profit this year were dashed by a large loss in the key winter period.The company posted a loss of $13.2-million, or 35 cents per share, in the second quarter.[np-related]The winter period was the fourth quarterly loss in a row for the company, which operates a variety of vacation and travel businesses including the Air Transat airline, packaged holiday operators and travel agencies.“Thanks to this partnership, Transat is making vacations even more accessible to Canadians and is allowing its customers to expand upon travel destination opportunities by conducting a rail transfer to one of its main departure cities,” said Joseph Adamo, vice-president of marketing at Transat Canada.VIA Rail says the announcement is the latest in a series of measures the company is undertaking to modernize passenger rail.“This announcement is in line with VIA Rail’s strategy of creating synergy among carriers in order to enhance the client experience and facilitate intermodal travel”, said VIA Rail president and CEO Marc Laliberte.“Today’s announcement is driven by our ongoing effort to improve our services. This strategy demonstrates that by working together, passenger carriers can increase the mobility of all Canadians while increasing the number of passengers for all methods of transport.”

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