WestJet Group Begins ‘Taking Down’ Its Network As Pilots Strike Looms
WestJet Group has started ‘taking down’ its network as it prepares for labour action by WestJet and Swoop pilots.
The company said that it is taking the action in order to ensure that the airline can avoid abandoning aircraft in remote locations without support and it enables the 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.
Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer, the WestJet Group, said: “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 ALPA and their inability to accept a reasonable offer.”
He continued: “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.”
And von Hoensbroech made it clear that: “We remain at a critical impasse with the union and have been left with no choice but to begin taking the painful steps of preparing for the reality of a work stoppage.”
Given that a tentative agreement has not yet been reached, the WestJet 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 WestJet Group CEO said that: “We remain at the bargaining table, unequivocally committed to achieving a deal as soon as possible, but are equally ready to weather labour action for as long as it takes to arrive at a reasonable outcome.”
And he emphasized that: “Any guest impact is too high of a cost in the wake of these negotiations and we sincerely apologize that valued guests were caught in the middle of an avoidable conflict.”