Canadian airlines sending planes to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma

"All aircraft should arrive in the Dominican Republic on the morning of September 6th, and passengers should be back in Canada in the afternoon or early evening", the company said in a statement.

MONTREAL-Transat A.T. Inc. says it has had a good summer, with its profit almost tripling from the same time a year ago, but warns that its fall and winter travel seasons could be affected by higher costs related to storms such as Harvey and Irma.

But even factoring in raised fuel costs from Hurricane Harvey's assault on Texas, as well as emergency flights to evacuate customers from Irma's path, Mr. Pétrin said that in the company's current forecasts, "as we speak, we're not talking about major" financial impacts for the forthcoming quarter.

Air Transat also said its scheduled flights on Thursday to Punta Cana departing from Toronto and Montreal have been cancelled.

"There is a question about whether it was going to be a tropical storm here in Punta Cana or if it would be the full force of the hurricane, so I think it was a good idea to wait until now. Better safe than sorry, I'm happy to be leaving now".

The holiday travel airline did not say how many of its travellers would board the flights back to Canada.

Both Air Canada and Air Transat have implemented policies offering customers whose travel plans intersect with the hurricane the chance to change flights.

WestJet is sending a number of 737-800 planes to operate as rescue flights to Punta Cana and Puerto Plata today.

Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Nearly 16 million people across 10 countries, states and territories are in the path of the storm, according to the US Census Bureau.

According to the Government of Canada's Travel Advice and Advisories page, Canadians are to avoid all travel to St. Maarten, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint-Barthelemy and Puerto Rica. The Calgary-based carrier said it would add additional flights soon to Santa Clara, Cayo Coco and Varadero, Cuba; Nassau, Bahamas; and Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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