Tag Archives: WestJet

WestJet ratifies 10-year agreement with WestJet flight dispatchers

WestJet has announced that WestJet flight dispatchers, represented by the Canadian Airline Dispatchers Association (CALDA), voted more than 90 per cent in favor of a 10-year agreement.

This ratified agreement starts June 1, 2022 and expires on May 31, 2032.

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

WestJet takes off and arrives in Rome

WestJet last night launched its long-awaited service to Rome with the departure of WestJet flight 32 from YYC Calgary International Airport at 6:20 p.m. local time. This first ever scheduled connection between Calgary and Rome, operated on WestJet’s 320-seat 787 Dreamliner, marked a major milestone in the recovery of Alberta’s travel and tourism industry and was celebrated alongside The Honourable Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation and Bob Sartor, President and CEO, YYC Calgary Airport Authority.

WestJet Rome inaugural ribbon cutting. From left: Angela Avery, WestJet, Executive Vice-President, External Affairs, Bob Sartor, CEO, YYC Calgary International Airport Authority, Minister Rajan Sawhney, Government of Alberta, Minister of Transportation, Chris Hedlin, WestJet, Vice-President, Network & Alliances. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

WestJet’s new service to and from Rome rounds out the airline’s enhanced investments in Alberta’s transatlantic connectivity and is providing Alberta with a 43 per cent increase in WestJet’s service to Europe, compared to 2019. With five European destinations to explore, Western Canadians and northwestern based Americans can now seamlessly connect to Rome, Paris, Dublin and both London-Heathrow and Gatwick from WestJet’s convenient Calgary hub.  This new connection will further expedite Canada’s travel and tourism recovery as international visitors benefit from a convenient nonstop flight to experience the vibrancy of what Alberta and Canada has to offer.

WestJet’s service to Rome will operate during peak season up to three-times weekly.  The flight was originally set to launch in May of 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Route Peak frequency Start date Departure Arrival
Calgary – Rome 3x weekly May 7, 2022 6:20 p.m. 11:55 a.m. (local)
Rome – Calgary 3x weekly May 8, 2022 1:55 p.m. (local) 4:19 p.m.

WestJet arrives in Rome (photos by APG Italy via Marco Finelli):

WestJet aircraft photo gallery:

WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group announce partnership expansion to better serve Canada’s express cargo market

WestJet Cargo and the GTA Group today announced a long-term partnership that will support the expansion and growth of domestic cargo opportunities for both businesses. Beginning in 2022, WestJet Cargo will partner with the GTA Group to increase shipping capacity using four dedicated 737-800NG freighters operated by WestJet, to fulfill overnight express cargo service out of WestJet’s Toronto hub.

WestJet’s 737-800NG narrow body aircraft is perfectly suited to serve the overnight express freight community offering increased flexibility and frequency. Quick to fill and fly, with among the best fuel efficiency in the cargo category, these freighters will provide the partnership a competitive cost advantage. In addition to dedicated freighters, WestJet Cargo will further support the GTA Group’s service through WestJet’s existing cargo business in the bellies of its commercial fleet.

Founded in 2001 and based out of Toronto, Ontario, the GTA Group of companies offers a diverse array of aviation related services ranging from ground service equipment maintenance, rental and sales to ground and cargo handling, ecommerce and cargo sales.

As WestJet Cargo continues to grow, so too will its team, network and flight plans.

WestJet announces its 2022 Summer Schedule

WestJet today announced its 2022 summer schedule, marking a significant milestone in recovery through the restoration of its network to near pre-pandemic levels. Making significant investments in its transatlantic network, the airline will offer a multitude of connections to Europe this summer, with more non-stop service options across the country from Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. WestJet also announced new, daily service between Toronto and Chicago beginning May 19, 2022.

At its peak this summer, WestJet will serve 43 domestic, 23 transborder, 16 Caribbean and eight transatlantic destinations, restoring 94 per cent of its pre-pandemic routes with more than 600 daily departures network wide. Complementing WestJet’s network, Swoop previously announced significant expansion plans for its domestic network in preparation for Canada’s busy summer travel season.

Restoring transatlantic connectivity

This summer, WestJet is restoring transatlantic connections across the country and significantly reinvesting in the Atlantic Gateway, bringing back international connectivity to Atlantic Canada with increased service between Halifax to Paris, London, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Additionally, the airline will re-introduce connectivity to the Eternal City with non-stop service between Rome, Italy and its home hub in Calgary.

Route Frequency Start date
Halifax-Paris 4x weekly May 7, 2022
Halifax-Gatwick 1x daily May 1, 2022
Halifax-Dublin 3x weekly May 1, 2022
Halifax – Glasgow 3x weekly May 2, 2022
Toronto – Barcelona 3x weekly May 13, 2022
Toronto – Dublin 1x daily May 15, 2022
Toronto – Glasgow 4x weekly May 20, 2022
Toronto – Edinburgh 3x weekly June 2, 2022
Toronto – London Gatwick Daily (increasing to 9x weekly in June) May 1, 2022
Calgary – Rome 3x weekly May 7, 2022
Calgary – Paris 5x weekly March 14, 2022
Calgary – London Heathrow 4x weekly March 26, 2022
Calgary – London, Gatwick 5x weekly March 14, 2022
Calgary – Dublin 3x weekly May 8, 2022
Vancouver – London, Gatwick 1x daily May 1, 2022

Alberta network returns to pre-pandemic levels
WestJet will restore service levels across Alberta to pre-pandemic levels with more than 180 daily departures from both Calgary and Edmonton this summer. WestJet’s investments in transatlantic flying from Calgary International Airport will see the airline increase the critical tourism pipeline between Alberta and Europe by 43 per cent when compared to 2019, supported by new routes and increased non-stop options to London Gatwick, Paris and Dublin.

“The restoration of our Alberta network marks a major milestone in WestJet and the province’s recovery as we rebuild our network and strengthen critical connections to global hubs and business economies,” continued Weatherill.

Alberta service:

  • Calgary: 142 daily departures, 35 domestic, 16 transborder and eight international destinations
  • Edmonton: 38 daily departures, 15 domestic and two transborder destinations

New daily transborder service between Toronto and Chicago

“We are also thrilled to provide daily non-stop service between Toronto and Chicago, two dynamic global cities,” continued Weatherill.  “Whether traveling for business or leisure, this new route provides guests with increased options to discover these two vibrant cities or seamlessly connect to their chosen destination via our expansive network.”

Route Frequency Start date
Toronto – Chicago 1x daily May 19, 2022
Chicago – Toronto 1x daily May 16, 2022

Standing with Ukraine:

WestJet Group to acquire Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines

It’s official. WestJet issued this statement:

WestJet and Sunwing announced today that they have reached a definitive agreement under which the WestJet Group of companies will acquire Sunwing Vacations and Sunwing Airlines.

The transaction will bring together two distinctly Canadian travel and tourism success stories to deliver new travel options and greater value for travelers in the rapidly expanding leisure and work-from-anywhere travel markets. The combination will enable both companies to protect and create jobs and rebuild strength in the Canadian travel industry at a critical time.

WestJet Logo (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

Following the close of the transaction, a new tour operating business unit will be created under the WestJet Group, to include both Sunwing Vacations and WestJet Vacations Inc., and will be led by Sunwing CEO Stephen Hunter. Sunwing’s current shareholders will become equity holders in the WestJet Group.

Canadian travelers will have access to more competitive airfares and affordable vacation packages through the combined strength of the companies. The tour operator business will be headquartered in Toronto, with a Quebec head office in Laval and the business will continue to market the Sunwing brand alongside WestJet Vacations. The WestJet Group will maintain its head office in Calgary.

The WestJet Group of companies will expand to include Sunwing Airlines. This will add increased capacity, dedicating otherwise seasonal aircraft to operate year-round in Canada, instead of Sunwing supplementing seasonal demand with imported aircraft, which translates into more jobs for Canadians. This acquisition will improve the WestJet Group’s ability to offer more affordable fares by immediately expanding its low-cost footprint in Canada.

WestJet Group and Sunwing intend to build on their collective history of constructive labour relations and will respect all arrangements with union and employee associations, including those in place and those currently under negotiation.

As a result of the resiliency created by the transaction, Sunwing expects to no longer require the pandemic-related Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) Sunwing obtained from the Canadian government in early 2021, which will be fully repaid upon closing of the transaction.

The combination, which remains subject to receipt of regulatory approvals, is anticipated to close late 2022.

WestJet Group welcomes the border changes

WestJet Group issued this statement:

The WestJet Group welcomes today’s announcement from the federal government outlining changes to Canada’s border measures and travel policies effective February 28, 2022. The WestJet Group will continue to advocate, based on science and data, for the removal of all measures impacting fully-vaccinated air travelers.

“The removal of travel barriers for fully-vaccinated travelers and families is a positive step forward for our industry; we have been advocating tirelessly for these changes on behalf of our guests and our communities,” said Angela Avery, WestJet Executive Vice-President, External Affairs. “As a fully-vaccinated industry, we have worked with public health authorities and all governments to curb COVID-19 and today’s announcement validates that travel has never been a significant vector of transmission.”

WestJet continues to advocate for the return to surveillance arrivals testing only and for the federal government to outline a recovery roadmap for the travel and tourism industry, based on science and reflective of the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As measures transition and Canada’s pandemic situation continues to improve, we are optimistic that the remaining policies will be reassessed and removed for fully-vaccinated travellers in the weeks ahead as outlined today by the Ministers,” continued Avery.

Chief Medical Officers of Health for Air Canada, Toronto Pearson, and WestJet call on Governments to shift PCR testing from airports to communities

Open Letter:

Dear Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., Minister of Health; Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada; Hon. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier of Ontario and Minister of Health; and Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health:

WestJet (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Over the last two months, Omicron has quickly become the predominant variant of COVID-19. As it spreads throughout our communities, we need to ensure Canada’s limited testing resources are being used where Canadians need them most—to support our communities, schools, hospitals and long-term care homes.

As the government has ramped up testing at airports for international arrivals, we have seen frontline workers struggle to get PCR tests and lab processing capacity decrease significantly. There is a growing discrepancy between resources allocated to asymptomatic travellers and to those who need it most. In the most recent week of reported data, over 123,000 PCR tests were conducted at Canada’s airports with an average positivity rate of 3 per cent. Meanwhile, the positivity rate in our communities is now approximately 30 per cent and could be higher due to the under-reporting of positivity from a lack of tests.

A recent study prepared for the Manchester Airports Group found that travel testing at best delayed the peak of cases by no more than 5 days, and made total case counts only 3 per cent lower. This was because Omicron was prevalent in the communities long before it was detected as a variant of concern in South Africa. Indeed, here in Canada as well, we have learned that Omicron was present and circulating in our communities long before the first official case was declared in Canada.

As every person traveling to Canada must take a PCR test prior to getting on a plane inbound to Canada and must be fully vaccinated, there is no good public health rationale for a second test upon arrival. We know that the primary concern for Omicron is in the community. By extension, the primary need for testing is in our community; not at our airports. Now is the time to act. We call on the Government of Canada to work with Ontario to implement the following measures immediately to support our healthcare system and our communities:

  1. Remove mandatory arrivals testing from airports and shift these scarce resources to our schools, community and healthcare system.
  2. Revert to surveillance arrival testing of international air passengers.
  3. Require mandatory isolation for persons arriving from an international location if they are exhibiting symptoms or test positive on a surveillance test. Travelers who are asymptomatic after receiving their negative pre-departure test before travel to Canada should not be required to isolate.

Collectively, our organizations have worked hard to keep travel safe, and we have achieved a positivity rate that is ten times less than community spread. Now is the time to shift testing resources to where they’re needed most. Removing arrivals PCR testing from Toronto Pearson airport alone would free up 8,000 tests a day for the GTA, which will help keep our most vulnerable—those in long-term care, hospitals and our children attending school—safe.

Now is the time to put scarce testing resources where Canadians need them most: in our communities and not in our airports.

Dr. Jim Chung

 

Chief Medical Officer – Air Canada

Dr. Edward Wasser 

Chief Medical Officer – Toronto Pearson

Dr. Tammy McKnight

 

Chief Medical Officer – WestJet Airlines

 

Toronto Pearson (CNW Group/Air Canada)

Air Canada (CNW Group/Air Canada)

The WestJet Group opposes re-introduction of blanket air travel advisory

The WestJet Group is expressing its strong opposition to the travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada. The targeted advice outlined is not based on science and data and significantly undermines aviation’s proven safety record in response to COVID-19. These measures are a setback in Canada’s progress and its successful transition from relying on blanket advisories and policies.

“Air travel is the most tested and protected consumer activity in Canada, every person travelling internationally is tested on average twice throughout their travel journey,” said Harry Taylor, WestJet President and CEO. “As the only fully-vaccinated air travel sector in the world, WestJet is calling on the government to publicly share the travel related COVID-19 data that has been used to re-impose the advisory and advice targeted towards fully-vaccinated Canadians and the travel and tourism industry.”

International travel standards and policies should be harmonized, yet Canada’s travel measures remain firmly out of step with border policies enacted across the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. The advisory announced today, contradicts WHO’s guidance that states blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of COVID-19 and adversely affect lives and livelihoods. The Government of Canada should continue to focus on vaccinations and testing, as the pathway for safe and fully-vaccinated international air travel must be preserved.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have safely flown more than seven million guests and air travel has been commended for its commitment to safety. Fully-vaccinated Canadians should not be singled-out for choosing to take part in a safe activity,” continued Taylor. “Travel bans, restrictions and blanket advisories are devastating to the continued economic recovery of our country and place tens of thousands of recently recalled Canadian travel and tourism jobs at risk. We are very concerned today’s announcement will create unnecessary disruption and chaos in advance of the holiday travel season.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, The WestJet Group has responded to COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all. The airline has implemented its own measures in response to the pandemic including a zero-tolerance mask policy, enhancing health and safety measures, suspending sun flights and implementing the airline’s mandatory vaccination policy for employees and air travelers.