WestJet is making further changes to its domestic flight schedule, removing about 4,000 weekly flights — or 600 daily flights — from May 5 through June 4, 2020. The carrier says the changes are needed to address significantly reduced guest demand during the COVID-19 crisis.
While some city pairings have been temporarily removed, WestJet continuesto serve the 38 Canadian airports to which we currently operate, ensuring that those with essential travel requirements can get where they need to be and that cargo goods like blood, medical products and food supplies can continue to flow.
WestJet notes that the overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and it is continuing to evaluate further reductions.
All transborder and international routes remain suspended at this time through June 4, 2020.
The airline also announced that as a result of the further reductions to its operations, it will be increasing its current inactive workforce by a further 3,000 people come early May.
WestJet president and CEO, Ed Sims said: “The reality of this crisis continues to require WestJet to make mission-critical decisions to ensure the sustainability of our airline. With less than five per cent of our pre-COVID-19 guest loads, work is simply not currently available. These decisions, while difficult, are being thoughtfully and methodically made so that we can weather this crisis and be ready for a future where we can provide inactive WestJetters with fulfilling employment once again.”
Sims continued: “WestJet is very appreciative of the Government of Canada’s programs to assist us and other organizations in navigating this pandemic. Therefore, while work is not available and where it is of benefit to our WestJetters, we will utilize the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program to retain our people on our payroll and to ensure they remain connected to the company. We continue to work with our employee and labour groups on ways to maintain employment through the crisis.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, to mitigate the impact on its workforce, WestJet implemented immediate cost-cutting measures including releasing more than 80 per cent of outside contractors, instituting a hiring freeze, stopping all non-essential travel and training, suspending any internal role movements and salary adjustments, cutting executive, vice-president and director salaries, pausing more than 75 per cent of its capital projects and asking suppliers for a reduction or delay in payments.
WestJet is actively engaged with all levels of government in a shared commitment to minimizing impacts of this crisis and continues to press upon government the depth of the impact.
Go to www.westjet.com for more.