WestJet Concerned By NAV CAN Rate Increase

WestJet is increasing domestic traveller surcharges to account for NAV CANADA rate increases of almost 30% starting Sept. 1.

The carrier said it’s increasing the surcharge it charges for air traffic control services between $4 and $7 per guest depending on flight duration. NAV CANADA is Canada’s air traffic control operator, responsible for Canada’s civil air navigation system.

WestJet is investigating an appeal of the rate increase and will remove the additional surcharge if the appeal is successful.

Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, said: “We are deeply concerned the NAV CANADA rate increase will lead to a further reduction in the number of travellers.”

Sims continued: “We are sympathetic to their situation, like ours, where a lack of sector-specific federal support has hindered their ability to recover. Burdening travellers who have been severely impacted by this pandemic with incremental costs will only serve to undermine Canada’s economic recovery.”

Effective today (Sept. 1), NAV CANADA rates will increase by an average of 29.5%.

Due to the increase, WestJet will increase the surcharge on all domestic tickets from Sept. 5, 2020 onward to partially recover the airline’s costs.

The estimated NAV CANADA rate increase will range from $6 to $9 per guest paid by the airline, while WestJet’s surcharge increase will range from $4 to $7 per guest.

Said Sims: “Countries around the world have taken action to limit or defer costs to the aviation industry, yet our situation remains exacerbated by double-digit increases that are beyond our control. Some airports have indicated they are increasing their Airport Improvement Fees (AIF) by as much as 52% which doesn’t help this challenging situation.”

Air travel is critical to the Canadian economy, supporting 633,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributing $64 billion to the Canadian GDP.

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