Calgary: Following the union representing around 1,800 pilots of WestJet and its subsidiary Swoop gave a strike notice, the airline has started canceling its flights.
In a press release, WestJet said steps are being taken to ensure that the airline can avoid abandoning aircraft in remote locations without support and enables proactive communication with guests and crew to minimize the potential for being stranded.
“The decision to cancel flights comes as the WestJet Group remains in a stalemate with the union regarding unreasonable wage expectations that if realized would permanently damage the financial viability of the group’s future,” the airline wrote on its website.
“We are extremely disheartened to find ourselves in a place where we have to activate our contingency plan and subsequent takedown of our network as a result of the strike notice served by Air Line Pilot Association and their inability to accept a reasonable offer. We deeply regret the disruption this will have on the travel plans of our guests and the communities and businesses that rely on our critical air service,” said Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer, the WestJet Group.
The WestJet said given that a tentative agreement has not yet been reached, the Group is parking the majority of its 737 and 787 fleet, in a measured, phased and safe approach.
WestJet Encore, WestJet Link as well as limited 737 flights will continue to operate during this time.
The union and airline have been on negotiation table over several issues, including wages, job protection and scheduling.