Thomas Cook Group Airlines has signed a winter aircraft exchange with the Canadian owner of Air Transat.

Under the arrangement, Thomas Cook will make a number of narrow-body Airbus A321s available to Air Transat and will receive at least one wide-body A330 in return.

The seven-year deal provides the two airlines with fleet flexibility taking account of their different winter flying demands.

The agreement takes advantage of the different seasonality of the two companies.

Air Transat uses a greater number of smaller aircraft in winter to serve destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida, and larger aircraft in summer for transatlantic flights.

Thomas Cook uses smaller aircraft in summer to fly to destinations around the Mediterranean and wide-body aircraft in the winter to serve long-haul points like Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Thomas Cook Group chief airline officer, Christoph Debus, said: “The new partnership provides additional growth opportunities for our airline, and again demonstrates how Thomas Cook Group is transforming through partnerships.

“By taking advantage of the complementary seasonal demand in North America and Europe, we will be able to operate additional long-haul flights during winter and better balance the seasonal demand for our short and medium-haul aircraft, resulting in more cost efficiency and choice for our customers.”

Transat president and chief executive, Jean-Marc Eustache, said: “This agreement marks a new step in the reconfiguration of our fleet.

“It allows us to improve our flexible-fleet model, making it even more efficient.

“Our fleet will eventually consist solely of Airbus A330 and aircraft from the A320 family, such as the A321, which will mean a more harmonised travel experience for our customers as well as lower operating costs.”

All of the A321s from the Thomas Cook fleet will be recent aircraft, with the same cabin configuration as Air Transat’s planned fleet of long range A321neos with 199 seats, 12 of which will be Club Class.