Category Archives: WestJet

WestJet to temporarily suspend service to four domestic stations

WestJet announced today it will temporarily suspend operations to St. John’s, N.L., London, Ontario, and Lloydminster and Medicine Hat, Alberta, as of March 19, until June 24, 2021.

With today’s announcement, flights between St. John’s and Halifax will be suspended as of March 21, while service between London, Ontario, and Toronto will cease on March 22. WestJet Link service from Calgary to Lloydminster will end on March 19, and Calgary to Medicine Hat discontinued as of March 21.

In June 2020, WestJet announced organizational changes through its airport transformation program. As a result of the suspensions, WestJet will be working with newly established third-party service providers in St. John’s and London, Ont., and directly with Pacific Coastal Airlines for affected WestJet Link operations in Lloydminster and Medicine Hat.

WestJet continues to operate at more than a 90 percent reduction year over year. Guests impacted will be contacted directly regarding their options for travel to and from the regions. Service is set to resume to all communities as of June 24, 2021.

Temporary Route Suspensions:

Route Current Frequency Service suspended from
Lloydminster – Calgary 2x weekly March 19, 2021
St. John’s – Halifax 3x weekly March 21, 2021
Medicine Hat – Calgary 1x weekly March 21, 2021
London, Ont. – Toronto 4x weekly March 22, 2021

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

WestJet aircraft slide show:

WestJet responds to Transat takeover by Air Canada

WestJet issued this statement:

Government ignores advice of its own Competition Bureau in Air Canada takeover of Transat.

The government of Canada on Thursday evening approved the purchase of Transat by Air Canada, without significant remedies.

“This decision shows blatant disregard for all Canadians who believe in healthy competition,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “When Canadians look to explore the world and reunite with family and friends once again, they will face fewer choices and higher fares.”

The government’s own Competition Bureau stated in regards to the proposed purchase, “Eliminating the rivalry between these airlines would result in increased prices, less choice, decreases in service and a significant reduction in travel by Canadians on a variety of routes where their existing networks overlap.”

“It is hard to imagine a deal as anti-competitive in any industry where the number one player buys number three without meaningful remedies,” continued Mr. Sims. “This is a serious setback to Canada’s economy. The Competition Bureau themselves described such cosmetic remedies as inadequate. Canadians should be profoundly disappointed.”

WestJet cuts flying to Mexico and Caribbean at request of Canadian government

The WestJet Group today announced it would temporarily cease international flying to 14 sun destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean in response to a request from the Government of Canada.

“The government asked, and we agreed,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “While we know that air travel is responsible for less than two per cent of cases since the start of the crisis, and even less today, we recognize the Government of Canada’s ask is a precautionary measure. We also note that the overwhelming majority of quarantine exemptions, well over 90 per cent in fact, are connected to land borders and not air travel. We have responded to their request and will suspend service to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.”

Effective Sunday, January 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET, WestJet will suspend southbound operations to the following destinations until April 30. Over the subsequent two weeks, WestJet will work to bring our guests already in destination back to Canada.

Vancouver – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Vancouver – Cancun, Mexico
Vancouver – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Calgary – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Calgary – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Calgary – Cancun, Mexico,
Calgary – Liberia, Costa Rica
Edmonton – Cancun, Mexico
Edmonton – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Toronto – Cancun, Mexico
Toronto – Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Toronto – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Toronto – Kingston, Jamaica
Toronto – Montego Bay, Jamaica
Toronto – Liberia, Costa Rica
Toronto – Varadero, Cuba
Toronto – Saint Lucia
Toronto – Saint Marten
Toronto – Nassau, Bahamas
Toronto – Bermuda
Edmonton – Mazatlan, Mexico (Swoop)
Edmonton – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (Swoop)
Toronto – Montego Bay, Jamaica (Swoop)
Toronto – Cancun, Mexico (Swoop)

Through its Safety Above All program, the WestJet Group has implemented extensive safety measures since the start of the pandemic and as a result, there have been no documented cases of person-to-person transmission onboard the airline’s flights.

“The pandemic has had devastating impacts on our hard-working people, and they have made tremendous sacrifices throughout,” continued Sims. “The government recognizes how uniquely hard hit our industry has been and has acknowledged our efforts to curb the spread of the virus. We note their words of support for our airline as a strong partner in the fight against COVID-19.”

For guests with travel booked during the impacted period, WestJet will proactively notify them of their options.

WestJet returns its Boeing 737 MAX to service

WestJet today returned the first of its 737 MAX aircraft to passenger service with the departure of WS115 from Calgary to Vancouver. With the second 737 MAX flight, WS122, from Vancouver to Calgary departing at noon PT.

On board the first flight were 71 guests including Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, Chris Burley, WestJet Board Chair and Chris Rauenbusch, President, CUPE Local 4070 and a member of WestJet’s Inflight team. The aircraft was piloted by Captain David Colquhoun, WestJet Master Executive Council Chair, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and Captain Scott Wilson, Vice President WestJet Operations.

“The return of WestJet’s MAX aircraft to the fleet marks an operational milestone after 22 months of intense review,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “WestJet’s preparation, training processes, due diligence and safety above all philosophy drives our confidence in welcoming guests on board our MAX aircraft.”

Captain David Colquhoun, WestJet Master Executive Council Chair, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said, “For nearly two years, ALPA has been working tirelessly with Transport Canada, international regulators, and airline management on reviewing the MAX and the revised pilot training requirements needed to safely return this aircraft to service. No one knows better than airline pilots what is needed to be adequately prepared and trained to manage the handling qualities of this renewed aircraft. Today, as we usher the safe return of the MAX in Canada, ALPA will continue to provide its expertise and voice of safety in future discussions.”

“I was proud to operate the MAX aircraft today on its first commercial flight since the Canadian skies reopened,” said Captain Scott Wilson, WestJet Vice President Operations. “I am confident with the changes made to the aircraft and our training procedures, our MAX is one of the safest aircraft in the skies.”

Chris Rauenbusch, President CUPE Local 4070 said, “CUPE Local 4070, the union representing WestJet cabin crew members, has full confidence in the return of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to the workplace of our membership. Union representatives participated in a full technical briefing at Boeing facilities in Seattle, WA and following further data from Transport Canada, Boeing and WestJet, the union is confident that this aircraft type is safe for our cabin crew and our guests.”

Video:

WestJet to renew Boeing 737 MAX service on January 21

WestJet has made this announcement:

WestJet’s first Boeing 737 MAX flight following the opening of the skies will operate with the departure of WS155 from Calgary (YYC) to Vancouver (YVR) on January 21, 2021.

Starting on January 22, 2021 the MAX will operate three-times weekly as announced, between Calgary (YYC) and Toronto (YYZ).

Additional return to service details are available here.

WestJet’s 737 MAX: Behind the Scenes (from WestJet Blog):

With our 737 MAX aircraft returning to service, we wanted to give you the opportunity to see what’s been going on behind the scenes, so you can have the same level of confidence in the MAX that we do.

Meet two team members who led the efforts and discover the incredible preparation and care that’s gone into ensuring safety above all aboard our 737 MAX aircraft.

As Director of Line Maintenance at WestJet, John Romane and his team of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, oversee maintenance of all the aircraft in our fleet. This included making the necessary updates to the MAX that Boeing and Transport Canada identified. While both Boeing and Transport Canada were on-site to oversee the initial modifications, doing the updates in-house gave John and his team full visibility to ensure the work also met our WestJet standards.

John Romane, Director of Line Maintenance

John Romane, Director of Line Maintenance


“Our maintenance teams will dedicate 2,000 work hours to each of our 737 MAX aircraft, implementing and testing the updates prior to them returning to service.”

-John Romane, Director of Line Maintenance



In addition to making these updates to our 737 MAX aircraft, our Chief Pilot 737, Jimmy-Dean Porter worked hand-in-hand with Boeing and Transport Canada to create a comprehensive training program for WestJet’s 737 pilots. The program includes MAX-specific simulator training, as well as extensive briefings, training modules and evaluations.

Jimmy-Dean Porter, Chief Pilot 737
Jimmy-Dean Porter, Chief Pilot 737

“I have complete confidence in our MAX aircraft. I have no hesitancy putting my family on board, with any of our WestJet pilots.” –Jimmy-Dean Porter, Chief Pilot 737


We are also conducting validation flights with every MAX aircraft in our fleet to make sure it performs as intended prior to returning to commercial service.

To learn more about John and Jimmy-Dean’s roles in safely returning of our 737 MAX aircraft to service, watch our behind-the-scenes video.

WestJet slashes capacity in response to rushed government testing regime

WestJet issued this statement:

WestJet today announced further cuts to its schedule as the airline continues to face volatile demand and instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions.

As a result of the reduction in capacity, the equivalent of 1,000 employees across the WestJet Group of Companies will be impacted through a combination of furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves and reduced hours. There will also be a hiring freeze implemented.

“Immediately following the federal government’s inbound testing announcement on December 31, and with the continuation of the 14-day quarantine, we saw significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “The entire travel industry and its customers are again on the receiving end of incoherent and inconsistent government policy. We have advocated over the past 10 months for a coordinated testing regime on Canadian soil, but this hasty new measure is causing Canadian travellers unnecessary stress and confusion and may make travel unaffordable, unfeasible and inaccessible for Canadians for years to come.”

“Regrettably, this new policy leaves us with no other option but to again place a large number of our employees on leave, while impacting the pay of others,” continued Sims. “This is a cruel outcome for loyal and hardworking staff who have been diligently working through the pandemic.”

With today’s announcement the airline will remove approximately 30 percent of its currently planned February and March capacity from the schedule, a more than 80 percent reduction year over year. In addition, the airline will reduce domestic frequencies by 160 departures as frequently evolving advisories, travel restrictions and guidance continue to negatively impact demand trends. Any impacted guests will be contacted directly.

Network impact by the numbers:

  • With the planned reductions, WestJet will operate at a more than 80 percent reduction year over year.
  • Specific to international markets, capacity will be down 93 percent year over year where the airline will be operating only five daily flights compared to 100 last year
  • Elimination of more than 230 weekly departures (including 160 domestic) and removal of more than 30 percent of capacity versus prior months.
  • Suspension of 11 routes (Edmonton-Cancun, Edmonton- Puerto Vallarta, Edmonton-Phoenix, Vancouver-Cancun, Vancouver-Phoenix, Vancouver-Puerto Vallarta, Vancouver-Cabo, Vancouver-Los Angeles, Vancouver-Palm Springs, Calgary-Las Vegas, Calgary-Orlando).
  • Seasonal suspension of 13 international and transborder destinations (Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Huatulco, Ixtapa, London (Gatwick), Mazatlán, Nassau (Bahamas), Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), Tampa, and Turks and Caicos.
  • The airline will operate approximately 150 daily departures, returning to levels not seen since June 2001.

WestJet announces a Boeing 737 MAX return-to-service plan

WestJet today announced its intent to return its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to passenger service in a phased and transparent approach. The airline’s plans follow an announcement from Transport Canada (TC) on December 17, 2020 where TC safety experts validated the aircraft design changes and outlined requirements for Canadian carriers.

Transport Canada’s validation followed that of the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) on November 18, 2020.

“As we continue working with Transport Canada on the additional Canadian requirements, our first MAX will be ready to return safely to service as of January 21,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “While we don’t have final confirmation on when TC will open Canadian airspace to the 737 MAX aircraft, in the interest of transparency we are sharing our intent to fly once this confirmation is received.”

“The FAA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have spent more than a year examining the MAX aircraft to provide recommended changes to software, pilot training and maintenance requirements. We are confident with the changes they have mandated,” continued Sims. “In particular, the deliberate, detailed and independent scrutiny applied by Transport Canada’s National Aircraft Certification team, which prescribed additional requirements to pilot procedures and training, provides further confidence in the aircraft and its safe return.”

WestJet will take a phased approach to re-entry for its MAX aircraft beginning with non-commercial test flights that are anticipated to start in mid January. On January 21, pending Transport Canada’s reopening of the Canadian airspace to commercial flights for the 737 MAX, the airline plans to operate three roundtrip flights, per week, between Calgary and Toronto. The schedule will remain in place for four weeks, while evaluating further routes and additional frequencies. WestJet currently operates six daily flights between the two cities.

“We are dedicated to restoring guest confidence in this aircraft through our safe operation, while providing the transparency and the flexibility that some of our guests may still require,” concluded Sims. “We will be forthcoming with our guests on where the MAX aircraft are flying, and we will be flexible with our change and cancel policy to ensure our guests can make their travel plans confidently.”

WestJet to add Bonaire

WestJet today announced it will be adding the island of Bonaire to its Caribbean destinations with its new non-stop once-weekly seasonal service from Toronto starting February 6, 2021.

As part of the Dutch Caribbean, Bonaire is located in the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and is accessible through The Flamingo International Airport. The airline’s new service will be operated on WestJet’s Boeing 737 aircraft featuring its Premium and Economy cabins.

Negative COVID-19 test eliminates quarantine time

A negative COVID test within 72-hours of departure is required to exempt Canadians from Bonaire’s mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travellers must have a medical certificate with a negative PCR test result upon arrival to the island. More information on Bonaire’s requirements are available online here.

Canadians traveling abroad remain subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to Canada.

Details of WestJet’s service between Toronto and Bonaire:

Route Frequency Departing Arriving Effective
Toronto-Bonaire Once weekly

(SAT)

10:15 a.m. 4:13 p.m. February 6, 2021 – April 10,
2021
Bonaire-Toronto Once weekly

(SUN)

2:00 p.m. 6:14 p.m. February 7, 2021 – April 11,
2021
*Subject to government approval

WestJet adds sun destinations and Dreamliner flying to January schedule

WestJet today released its updated January schedule featuring Dreamliner service to Mexico and more flights to sun destinations in the Caribbean, the United States (including Hawaii), Mexico and Central America.

The updated January schedule adds flights to Liberia (Costa Rica) and Ixtapa/Zihuantanejo, Mexico from Calgary and features the resumption of service between Kona, Hawaii and Vancouver and as well between Aruba and Toronto. Dreamliner service between Calgary and Cancun, Mexico begins on January 8, 2021, while service to Puerto Vallarta will commence on January 23, 2021.

In January, the airline will offer flights to 57 destinations including 33 in Canada, 10 in the U.S. including Hawaii, six in Mexico, six in the Caribbean, one in Europe and one in Central America

COVID-19 testing remains key to ensuring safe and confident travel

WestJet continues to support pre-and post-travel testing initiatives in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia to increase confidence in the traveling public. All information on WestJet’s testing offers and processes can be found at westjet.com/covidtesting.

Canadians traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country if not eligible for Alberta’s COVID-19 testing trial program.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, WestJet has implemented more than 20 additional health and safety measures during the travel journey to meet the needs of guests and WestJetters through its Safety Above All program.

WestJet is planning to operate the following transborder and international routes from January 5, 2021 to February 4, 2021:

HAWAII AND U.S. TRANSBORDER

Market Frequency (05JAN – 04FEB)
Vancouver – Maui 2x weekly
Vancouver – Honolulu 2x weekly
Vancouver – Kona 1x weekly
Vancouver – Palm Springs 1x weekly
 Vancouver – Los Angeles 1x weekly
Vancouver – Phoenix 1x weekly
Calgary – Maui 2x weekly
Calgary – Honolulu 1x weekly
Calgary – Los Angeles 3x weekly
Calgary – Palm Springs 6x weekly
Calgary – Las Vegas 2x weekly
Calgary – Phoenix 8x weekly
Calgary – Orlando 1x weekly
Edmonton – Phoenix 1x weekly
Toronto – Orlando 1x weekly
Toronto – Fort Myers 3x weekly
Toronto – Fort Lauderdale 2x weekly

INTERNATIONAL

Market Frequency 

(05JAN – 04FEB)

Vancouver – San Jose del Cabo 1x weekly
Vancouver – Puerto Vallarta 1x weekly
Vancouver – Cancun 1x weekly
Calgary – San Jose del Cabo 3x weekly
Calgary – Mazatlán 1x weekly
Calgary – Puerto Vallarta 6x weekly
Calgary – Huatulco 1x weekly
Calgary – Ixtapa / Zihuantanejo 1x weekly
Calgary – Cancun 3x weekly
Calgary – Liberia 1x weekly
Edmonton – Puerto Vallarta 1x weekly
Edmonton – Cancun 1x weekly
Toronto – Cancun 3x weekly
Toronto – Liberia 1x weekly
Toronto – Kingston 1x weekly
Toronto – Montego Bay 3x weekly
Toronto – Puerto Plata 2x weekly
Toronto – Punta Cana 2x weekly
Toronto – Aruba 1x weekly
Toronto – Barbados 1x weekly
Toronto – London Gatwick 2x weekly

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

WestJet aircraft slide show:

WestJet’s Christmas Miracle: The Season to Give

WestJet issued this holiday message and video:

This year, Christmas looks different for Canadians and airline communities from coast-to-coast. This season’s WestJet Christmas Miracle: the season to give video (below) highlights why it’s important for the spirit of giving to remain strong during difficult times.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, WestJet, with the help of WestJetters, have donated more than 1.3 million items nationwide. For this year’s Christmas Miracle, the airline hopes to inspire this same giving.

“Even though we may be apart, by giving together we can inspire new traditions and uplift spirits during these challenging times,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Throughout the pandemic, Canadians have been stepping up for each other and this holiday season we encourage everyone to celebrate the spirit of Christmas by giving from the heart and supporting local organizations with acts of care.”

To find out how to donate click here.

During this year’s Christmas Miracle, WestJet aircraft and delivery vehicles took to the skies and the roads as WestJetters set out close to home to safely deliver items and care packages for charitable partners, community organizations and healthcare facilities. WestJetters donning Blue Santa hats and following local safety protocols, delivered blankets, personal protective equipment and food to shelters, hot meals to frontline workers and gifts to seniors and children to spread the holiday spirit. A full breakdown of items donated throughout 2020 is available here.

The Christmas Miracle partners that shared in WestJet’s holiday spirit and featured in this year’s video include: Inn from the Cold, Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta, Calgary Health Foundation, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, The Grande Spirit Foundation, The Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation.

Video: