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13 hours ago, J.O. said:

I used to be a fan of WestJet, partially because I remember a day when they were outdoing their main rival in the area of customer service. It's both sad and amazing how losing the influence of their founding members has affected this area of their business.

At this point it's embarrassing. The hiring challenges are real but so too is any decision to adjust your compensation to attract people who want to work. Embarrassing. 

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5 hours ago, Kargokings said:

Or perhaps just a statement from someone who is hoping that most passengers do not know that current staffing requirements and aircraft designs are built around 2 pilots. ..... and is hoping, maybe,  to score points for WestJet in that regard.....  

In any event I hope the pilot is doing well. 

Hello,

There happened to be another captain  that was in the back on a deadhead (enroute to Miami for training).
My understanding is the pilot is doing well and was extremely thankful for the care and compassion received by all involved. 
Cheers

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9 hours ago, CanadaEH said:

At this point it's embarrassing. The hiring challenges are real but so too is any decision to adjust your compensation to attract people who want to work. Embarrassing. 

It's the case at many customer service organizations currently.

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Swoop Launches Three New Routes from Toronto

swoop.jpg?w=1024

Ultra-low fare airline kicks-off December flying with non-stop flights to Los Cabos, Mexico, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Kingston, Jamaica

TORONTO, Dec. 8, 2021 /CNW/ – Swoop this week celebrates the launch of three new inaugural flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport with the departure of new non-stop service to Los Cabos, Mexico, on December 4, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on December 5 and Kingston, Jamaica on December 8.  

“The launch of these three new routes demonstrates that Swoop’s accessible and affordable fares have caught on in Toronto and highlights the demand we are seeing for ultra-low fare travel across Canada,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial and Finance, Swoop. “We know Canadians are long overdue for a warm vacation or reunion with family and friends and while government-imposed travel restrictions continue to evolve, our travellers require and appreciate clarity and guidance on their upcoming travel plans.” 

As Canada’s leading ULCC, Swoop continues to support travellers navigate and adhere to testing requirements for travel through its partnership with Azova, a leading digital health technology platform and providing up-to-date information at www.flyswoop.com/coronavirus

Details of Swoop’s Newly Launched Service from Toronto

Route Peak Weekly
Frequency
Introductory All-in
One-Way Fare
Base fare
(CAD)
Taxes & Fees
(CAD)
Toronto – Los Cabos 1x Weekly $180 CAD + $81.69 $98.31
Toronto – Punta Cana 1x Weekly $199 CAD++ $87.67 $111.33
Toronto – Kingston 2x Weekly $180 CAD+++ $74.43 $105.57
+ Book by December 18, 2021, travel from Jan 5 to April 30, 2022 (blackouts February 17-22, March 12-20, 2022, April 14-19)
++Book by December 12, 2021, travel from Jan 5 to April 30, 2022 (blackouts February 17-22, March 12-20, 2022, April 14-19)
+++Book from December 8 – December 15, 2021, travel from Jan 5 to April 30, 2022 (blackouts February 17-22, March 12-20, April 14-19)

“Congratulations to our partners at Swoop on launching three new routes to destinations that have traditionally captured the imagination and excitement of Canadian travellers—and just in time for the cold weather,” said Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “With Toronto Pearson’s globally recognized Healthy Airport program continually evolving to keep pace with the latest public health guidance, our valued passengers can rest assured that if they’re planning on travelling this winter, their health and safety is our top priority from curb to boarding and back again.”

To learn more about Swoop please visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.

Swoop’s modern fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, equipped with in-seat power and Wi-Fi connectivity has safely carried more than 3 million travellers in three years of operation. FlySwoop.com allows travellers to quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.

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Pax Global Media

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has approved a request from WestJet to operate, on a codeshare basis, scheduled international service to Switzerland, according to a decision the CTA published on Dec. 10.

“The Agency is satisfied that the applicant meets all the applicable requirements of subsection 69(1) of the CTA,” reads the determination. “The Agency also finds that the pertinent terms and conditions of the Arrangement have been complied with.”

 

The licence is subject to the conditions prescribed by the Air Transportation Regulations and other customary conditions. 

The CTA’s decision does not specify the identity of the airline partner with whom WestJet will share codes with for Switzerland.

It also does not state when these codeshare flights will be offered.

This is a developing story.

 

https://news.paxeditions.com/news/airline/cta-clears-westjet-codeshare-flights-switzerland?fbclid=IwAR1K_nHaWnCq1DRFTQISNaoHGvsIcWJ4qWcN6kOE46ri8iaAYxo3Blj3uxI

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On 12/7/2021 at 10:11 PM, CanadaEH said:

At this point it's embarrassing. The hiring challenges are real but so too is any decision to adjust your compensation to attract people who want to work. Embarrassing. 

One of my relatives left an airport based WestJet role shortly before all hell broke loose and has no interest in going back no matter how many times they call because they were only there for the travel benefits which are presently of no value to them. They aren't exactly flying to a dozen NFL games a year at the moment.

A family friend was some sort of middle manager for Westin before being laid-off and she has the same perspective, employee rates at a premium resort in Hawaii mean nothing to her at the moment and she is earning the same as a facilities manager supervising a fraction of the number of people.

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WestJet hires Austrian Airlines boss as its new CEO

Calgary-based WestJet Group has announced Alexis von Hoensbroech will be the company’s new CEO starting sometime next year.

His official start date is dependant on the timing of his immigration process, but the company says that is expected to be complete before the end of the first quarter in 2022.

 

Interim CEO Harry Taylor will remain in the lead role until von Hoensbroech can take over, and will then resume his previous role as executive vice-president finance and chief financial officer.

von Hoensbroech previously served as CEO of Austrian Airlines. WestJet says he successfully led that airline through the COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthened its competitiveness during that time.

In a news release, von Hoensbroech said he’s excited to be joining WestJet.

“WestJet is a remarkable success story, bringing affordable air travel to millions of Canadians. I am very much looking forward to working with the management team, the Board and all WestJetters and Swoopsters to write the next chapter of this success story, as the airline emerges from the pandemic.”

 

Quote
Is Austrian Airlines owned by Lufthansa?
 
 
Austrian Airlines Group is wholly owned by Lufthansa. Austrian owns shares in 24 companies, including: Austrian Technik Bratislava, a maintenance company located at Bratislava Airport equipped for overhauls on Fokker and Embraer regional jets and the Airbus A320 family.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cops mediate flight delays

Colin Dacre - Dec 28, 2021 / 12:54 pm | Story: 355650
1640680743-20211227_221656._p3568973.jpg
Photo: Contributed
RCMP were called to Kelowna's airport on Monday over flight delay frustrations.

Tempers flared Monday at Kelowna International Airport to the point that RCMP had to be called.

While the airport saw numerous minor delays as a result of weather, WestJet flight 460 Kelowna to Calgary struggled mightily to get off the ground.

The flight, originally scheduled to depart at 4 p.m. did not take off until 12:53 a.m. on Tuesday.

Scott Cameron said he arrived at the airport at 2 p.m. in advance of the flight. But as the flight was repeatedly delayed, and with little information shared with waiting passengers, travelers began “bombarding” the lone WestJet employee on staff past 7 p.m. with questions the frontline worker didn’t have answers to.

“She was on the verge of tears,” he said.

Cameron said a more senior WestJet employee then came out to face the frustrated travellers, but became overwhelmed herself, felt surrounded and ended up calling the police.

He said the RCMP arrived to mediate and ended up staying for over an hour.

The Kelowna RCMP says officers were called to the airport at 12:20 a.m. by an airline to "to stand by and keep the peace as there were several passengers in the airport who had experienced flight delays and cancellations."

"Officers attended and all passengers were compliant, there were no incidents reported," said Cpl. Tammy Lobb.

Cameron described WestJet’s communication with passengers during the ordeal as “zero.” Some travellers simply gave up and left the airport, while Cameron waited on hold with customer service for 2.5 hours before hanging up in frustration.

“How am I supposed to fix any of this if I can’t get through” to customer service, Cameron said he asked WestJet staff at the airport.

The employees, equally frustrated, shrugged and suggested trying to phone the airline was a futile effort.

After eight delays, passengers boarded a plane shortly after midnight, only to be told on the tarmac by the captain that the crews had “timed out” and a new one was needed.

By the time Cameron landed in Calgary at 3:13 a.m., he lost use of the hotel room he had booked for his layover and had just a few hours prior to boarding his flight to his final destination.

WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell says they apologize to guests who had travel plans impacted by the flight.

“This type of creeping delay followed by a cancellation is extremely challenging for our guests, crew and agents,” Bell said.

“Unfortunately this flight was originally delayed for connecting crew and then again prior to departure for maintenance. Unfortunately the cold temperatures affected the aircraft start, which led to the extended maintenance delay and ultimate cancellation as the maintenance team worked to repair the issue.”

Bell said once the cancellation was confirmed, WestJet “accommodated guests with hotels, meal and taxi vouchers as soon as possible and alternative flight options were arranged as expediently as possible.”

Cameron, however, said he saw none of that. He said he’s understanding that flights can be delayed, but providing waiting travellers with basic information would go a long ways.

According to airline data company Cirium, Canada's largest airlines canceled hundreds of flights between Dec. 22 and Dec. 26 of this year.

Flair Airlines canceled nine per cent of its scheduled flights during the period while WestJet Airlines Ltd. canceled seven per cent of its flights.

Air Canada canceled four per cent of its scheduled flights during the period.

The proportion of canceled flights was significantly higher than earlier in December, when the cancellation rate for major carriers hovered around one to two per cent, and also higher than the same period during 2019's pre-pandemic holiday season.

South of the border, U.S. airlines have reported canceling significant numbers of flights in the past week because of staff shortages tied to the Omicron variant. Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said the nationwide spike in cases this week has impacted flight crews and left carriers short-staffed.

But in Canada, airlines say weather has caused more holiday travel disruptions than COVID-19 so far this year.

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An update on our operations and omicron COVID-19 variant impact

Harry Taylor
By Harry Taylor|December 30, 2021|3 min read

Over the past 72 hours, we have seen a significant increase in delays and cancellations impacting our business. As we work to stabilize our operation to best serve our guests, we understand this has been immensely challenging and frustrating and for that we apologize.

We could not have anticipated the rapid and unpredictable impact of the Omicron variant on our people and operations, coupled with prolonged frigid temperatures across Western Canada and global staffing shortages. Despite all contingency planning, in addition to hiring back thousands of WestJetters to safely support peak operations, we find ourselves no longer able to predictably resource our planned schedule due to Omicron impact and have made the difficult decision to consolidate approximately 15 percent of scheduled flights through to January 31, 2022.

Schedule changes will be implemented over the coming days, and while consolidation is a last resort, it demonstrates the reality of the service we planned versus that we can now realistically deliver. It is the best option to ensure the availability of our frontline staff and third-party service providers, while minimizing the impact on our guests.

Our team is making every effort to consolidate flights that have the least disruption; all guests with impacted flights will be proactively notified. For any WestJet-initiated cancellation or schedule change, where the schedule change was greater than 90 minutes or one or more stops were added, guests are eligible for a refund to original form of payment if desired, or can utilize WestJet’s flexible change and cancel policies. Guests are encouraged to utilize self-serve options prior to calling for assistance; guests seeking support outside of the 72-hour travel window are able to schedule a call-back.

Additional measures are urgently needed from our federal and provincial governments to minimize disruption. Canada has an envious global leadership position in vaccination rates and transportation is the only fully-vaccinated ecosystem and the most tested consumer activity in Canada. National alignment and standardization for our sector, similar to the approaches being taken by provinces to stabilize other essential services such as healthcare, would remove inconsistent provincial isolation requirements that are restricting staffing abilities. We are actively engaging with the federal and provincial governments in light of evolving scientific data available on the Omicron variant, as changes would aid us, along with our sector, in more effectively scheduling crew and employees, while maintaining essential air service for Canadian communities.

We are tremendously grateful to our guests who have continued to demonstrate patience and understanding during these uncertain times. In the face of adversity, our people and our partners have continued to rise to the challenge to ensure our guests get to where they need to go safely. We appreciate the continued support and are committed to providing transparent updates in the days ahead.

Sincerely,

Harry Taylor, Interim President and CEO, WestJet Group, Inc.

An update on our operations and omicron COVID-19 variant impact | WestJet official site

 

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Westjet's CEO offers a year-end update

Taylor optimistic in his outlook for the year ahead

  • Calgary Herald
  • 31 Dec 2021
  • CHRIS VARCOE cvarcoe@postmedia.com
img?regionKey=u6sAAxtqlIoAJYG0uHXxgQ%3d%3d Westjet's interim CEO Harry Taylor expects the company to return to “close to normal” in the latter half of 2022.

The head of Westjet expects 2022 will see the Calgary-based airline bring back all of its furloughed staff and return to profitability as more Canadians decide to fly.

In a year-end interview, Westjet interim CEO Harry Taylor talked about the outlook for the new year and how the company is seeing a faster recovery in Alberta than in other parts of Canada.

He also spoke about how Westjet is dealing with unvaccinated employees, the effect of increased competition from discount carriers and why the company ended talks with Ottawa over a federal aid package for airlines.

Here is an abbreviated, edited transcript of their conversation, which occurred just before Christmas. (On Thursday, Westjet announced it has consolidated 15 per cent of its flights until the end of January due to the effect of the Omicron variant.)

Q After the tumult of last year, how would you characterize 2021 for Westjet?

A The way I'd characterize 2021 is almost a year of two halves.

The first half of the year, we were in the depths of the pandemic . ... Our volumes were down, at the lowest level, our revenue was down 92 per cent. Our lowest day was 40 flights in one day, when pre-pandemic we were averaging over 700 flights a day.

So we had really come to the bottom in the first half of the year and then recovery started. It started in May.

And for us, the second half was a much better half for the year. We were adding back flights, we were recalling Westjetters, we were planning for growth, certainly coming off the bottom. And there was a greater sense of optimism. It's not over and (the pandemic) is still not over, as we well know. But at least we had bottomed out and were beginning, in the early innings, of recovery.

Obviously, we are finishing the year with a bit of a setback, in that yet another variant has come ... and while that's a very real concern, we are in a much different place, both as a country, as a people and as a company. Q In August, Westjet had a roundtable with local tourism leaders and laid out a plan to recoup 11 years of lost growth in six months, getting back to 2013 booking levels by the end of December. Were you able to achieve that?

A Yes. To be clear, that ... was to get us from the capacity that we were operating at in 2002, up to the level we were operating in 2013. And yes, that is exactly

where we are operating today.

Q How long will it take to get back to pre-pandemic levels on passenger traffic?

A It's differential by region ... Domestic, we think should be fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels by next summer. Trans-border, meaning Canada to the U.S., will not be until the fall. And trans-atlantic, since we don't fly trans-pacific, will not be until 2023. We think that's the longest recovery path for us.

Q You have about 2,400 inactive staff right now. How long will it take to bring them all back?

A I would expect by the summer we should have everybody recalled, if not earlier.

Q I want to ask you about mandatory vaccinations for staff. Obviously, it is a federally regulated situation. At the beginning of November, you had 290 people who were suspended because they weren't vaccinated. Where does that stand right now?

A I believe we have 160 who were unable to — or unwilling, but mostly unable — to certify they were fully vaccinated. So we are at various stages of reviewing their employment. In some cases, we have already terminated their employment. In other cases, there have been applications for medical dispensation, religious dispensation, etc.

We are working through it, but we support — I want to make it clear — we support the mandate for full vaccination of not only Westjetters, but air travellers.

Q You have a new CEO, Alexis von Hoensbroech, coming on board next year. The news release announcing his hiring said he lowered the cost base at Austrian Airlines to address rising competition from ultra-lowcost carriers (ULCCS). Westjet is facing increased competition from Flair Airlines, and now Lynx Air is starting up. How serious of a threat do you see the ULCCS being, or how intense is the competition?

A This industry is remarkably, intensively competitive . ... I don't for a minute diminish any startup in terms of looking to take share, because we were that (company) 26 years ago. We were someone who came in and said we're going to come in with a lower cost base and lower fares and we are going to take share.

We were one of the few who survived and prospered by staying true to our roots and we intend to do that ... and we are going to be aggressive, not just with Swoop, our own ultra-lowcost carrier, but with Westjet.

Q The federal government was slow in bringing forward an aid package for airlines. At the end of the day, Westjet decided not to continue with the talks, but also said you were open to resuming financial support discussions in the future. Has anything changed on that front?

A It hasn't. When we terminated those negotiations, it truly was mutual because we knew we didn't need financial support from the government to survive. At the same time, we recognized the pandemic could always have yet another hand to deal us, and so we didn't storm out in a huff

and say this is terrible. And neither did the government.

We both agreed, you know what, the time has passed for this ... But if, God forbid, we end up back in the tunnel that we were in, we want to keep the lines of communication open so that we could return (to) the traditional facilities that were offered to all airlines and all businesses.

Q How has air travel in Alberta rebounded compared to pre-pandemic levels?

A Alberta travel, I know it has been our strongest region across the country. I attribute that to two things: One is the strength of our business and our franchise with Albertans and people coming to or travelling out of Alberta.

And the second is the provincial restrictions have been less severe in Alberta than say Ontario or in B.C. As a result, we have seen the fastest rebound in Alberta compared to the other provinces or regions in the country.

Q What is your sense of what 2022 will look like?

A The first half of next year will continue to be challenging, not just because of Omicron, but more just as the recovery continues it will be the back half of the year where we really feel like we're back to close to normal.

Q I know Westjet is not a public company, but are you a profitable company this year? Will you be a profitable company next year?

A We are not a profitable company this year. We expect to be profitable next year.

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  • 3 weeks later...

WestJet announces further flight reductions through February as Omicron affects staffing levels

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By Caley Ramsay  Global News
Posted January 18, 2022 8:24 am
 Updated January 18, 2022 9:02 am

As Omicron continues to spread in Alberta, and across much of the country, one of Canada’s biggest airlines announced further flight reductions.70c8fc80

WestJet said Tuesday morning it will consolidate 20 per cent of its scheduled flights from Feb. 1 through to Feb. 28, 2022.

The latest flight reductions are on top of the approximately 15 per cent consolidation of flights announced by the Calgary-based airline in January.

WestJet said the decision comes as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to affect staffing levels. The airline also cited “the prolonged impact of government barriers on our business.”

“As we continue to navigate the unpredictability of the Omicron variant on our staffing levels along with the ongoing barriers to international travel, we are making every effort to proactively manage our schedule in order to minimize disruption to our guests’ travel plans,” said Harry Taylor, interim WestJet Group president and CEO.

To our guests impacted by these additional consolidations, we sincerely apologize for the disruption and appreciate your continued understanding and patience.”

In the next few days, WestJet said affected travellers will be notified of changes to their itineraries via email.

Travellers are asked to use self-serve options before calling WestJet for assistance. The company said its flexible change and cancel guidelines and schedule change refund policies remain in place.

“We continue to advocate for the elimination of cumbersome travel rules that are unnecessarily impacting Canadians and prolonging the recovery of the travel and tourism sector,” Taylor said in a news release Tuesday morning.

“Canada remains one of the only countries in the world requiring multiple molecular tests for fully-vaccinated travellers — these testing resources should be redeployed to our communities.s flight

In a letter to Ottawa and the Ontario government Monday, Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto’s Pearson airport called on the federal government to drop its rule requiring vaccinated travellers to get a COVID-19 test upon arrival.

“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,” the letter said, citing schools, hospitals and long-term care homes as particular priorities.

“There is a growing discrepancy between resources allocated to asymptomatic travellers and to those who need it most.”

Travellers coming to Canada must present a pre-arrival negative molecular test result for COVID-19. Once they touch down, those coming from any country other than the United States are tested again and must isolate until they get their results. Those coming from the U.S. are tested randomly.

The surging Omicron variant of COVID-19 has led to staffing shortages in multiple industries across Canada in recent weeks.

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B.C. Court rejects WestJet’s appeal of class action certification about baggage fees

From The Toronto Star 🔗 link to source story

By The Canadian Press | Mon., January 24, 2022

 

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed WestJet’s efforts to overturn the certification of a class-action lawsuit on baggage fees.

The Calgary-based airline is alleged to have between September 2014 and March 2019 published two prices for checked bags, one that was free and then charged passengers another that was higher.

WestJet ultimately amended wording in its domestic tariff to remove that one checked bag will be free.

The class action based in contract law, unjust enrichment, and a double-ticketing offence under the federal Competition Act was certified in January 2021.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. and WestJet Encore Ltd. challenged certification relating to the claim under the Competition Act, not certification of the class in general.

In a ruling released Friday, Justice Robert Bauman wrote that the plaintiffs’ efforts are not “bound to fail” because the meaning behind the alleged offence has not been “substantially developed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2022.

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Swoop Heats up the New Year with Service to Los Cabos

swoop.jpg?w=1024

Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline, brings new sunny destination to Abbotsford with launch of inaugural route

ABBOTSFORD, BC, Jan. 31, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low cost airline, celebrated its first flight between Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) and Los Cabos International Airport (SJD).  The ultra-low-cost airline’s inaugural service took off from Abbotsford at 9:00 a.m. PST and is scheduled to arrive at 2:55pm local time. 

“As the country’s leading ultra-low fare airline, we’re pleased to add another warm-weather getaway option for residents of the Fraser Valley, with Los Cabos topping our growing list of non-stop destinations available from Abbotsford,” said Shane Workman, Head of Flight Operations, Swoop. “Abbotsford International Airport has been an integral partner back, going back to June 20th, 2018, when we operated our first Swoop flight. We’re thankful for their continued commitment to supporting the ultra-low cost model at YXX, bringing more affordable air travel and vacation options to Canadians.” 

Today’s inaugural service marks the first of many to come in 2022, as the airline furthers its commitment and strategic focus on providing more choice and ultra-low fares to the Fraser Valley and Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. Swoop’s introductory fares from Abbotsford to Los Cabos start at just $79 CAD†, and Canadians can unlock additional hotel discounts when they add a hotel or all-inclusive resort to their booking through Swoop Getaways. Beginning March 12, Swoop will also add Mazatlán to its non-stop sun flying schedule from Abbotsford, the third destination in Mexico following Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.

In celebration of the new service, Swoop’s Head of Flight Operations, Shane Workman was joined by Parm Sidhu, YXX Airport General Manager for an inaugural ceremony prior to departure from Abbotsford International Airport, where travellers were treated to refreshments and giveaways.

“We look forward to expanding our connectivity with Swoop to bring travellers from Abbotsford in a direct flight to Los Cabos,” said Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “As Canadian tourism to the destination continues a steady recovery, we continue to implement strong health and safety protocols as travellers look to experience all that our destination has to offer from world-class gastronomy to luxury resorts.”

To learn more about Swoop and for flights from Abbotsford, please visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

70 total seats available for travel between February 14 – April 25, 2022. Sale ends February 6 (11:59pm MT).

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From the ad on LinkedIn, I’m surprised they don’t have an age restriction for a DEC. Most overseas carriers have that caveat, or would that be considered age discrimination in Canada.

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WestJet cuts 20 per cent of flights in March, calls for reopening timeline

By Staff  The Canadian Press
Posted February 7, 2022 9:25 am
Click to play video: 'WestJet announces more flight cancellations amid staffing shortages'
 
WestJet has announced it’s cancelling more flights amid staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline says it’ll consolidate 20 per cent of its scheduled flights in February – Jan 18, 2022
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WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it has cancelled 20 per cent of its flights in March, extending schedule cuts from February amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty that continue to drain demand.

70c8fc80

Interim CEO Harry Taylor says travel advisories and testing requirements were meant to be temporary, but that after two years the industry crisis has come to a head.

WestJet is calling for periodic testing upon arrival only, rather than mandatory molecular testing before takeoff and after landing for fully vaccinated international passengers.

The Calgary-based company is also demanding an end to quarantines for travellers awaiting results when they return from abroad.

Taylor notes that Canada remains the only G7 country to require pre-departure and on-arrival molecular testing, and says the federal government must outline a road map for travel and tourism recovery.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Since early November, Air Canada and WestJet have cancelled 43 per cent of their scheduled trips for March, according to flight data firm Cirium.

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I wonder how or if this impacts WestJet

Swoop Announces Significant Fleet Growth and Domestic Network Expansion

swoop.jpg?w=1024
  • Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline to add six new Boeing MAX-8 aircraft
  • Airline to introduce non-stop service to Newfoundland this spring – enabling Canadians to reconnect coast-to-coast
  • Domestic network expansion adds 14 new non-stop routes including service to Deer Lake and St. John’s, Newfoundland; and Saint John, New Brunswick

CALGARY, AB, Feb. 9, 2022 /CNW/ – Swoop, Canada’s leading ultra-low fare airline, today announced it will grow its fleet from 10 to 16 aircraft with the acquisition of six new Boeing MAX-8 aircraft. Canada’s fast growing ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) confirmed it will begin receiving all six aircraft this summer as the airline rapidly expands to meet peak season travel demand.

Alongside this fleet growth, Swoop will significantly expand its domestic network, adding non-stop flights to Newfoundland and increasing service in Atlantic Canada. The ULCC will also add six new routes and capacity in Ontario and the Prairies in preparation for Canada’s busy summer travel season. The airline’s announced expansion comes as Swoop reports significantly increased passenger numbers and record bookings domestically.

“We saw demand for travel return in a very meaningful way over the holidays, signalling that Canadians are ready to reunite with family and friends,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial & Finance, Swoop. “The acquisition of six new aircraft in response to anticipated demand will ensure Swoop reconnects more Canadians this summer while accelerating Canada’s economic recovery.”

Today’s announced expansion will bring the ULCC’s total non-stop domestic routes served to 37 this summer and includes a significant investment in Atlantic Canada.

Significant Expansion and Investment in Atlantic Canada

Swoop’s investments in Atlantic Canada will see the airline begin service at three new destinations while increasing capacity across the region by 273 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Swoop is pleased to support Newfoundland and Labrador’s Come Home 2022 campaign and stimulate recovery of the visitor economy with access to affordable air travel,” said van der Stege. “We know how important the re-opening of travel and tourism is for regional economic recovery and continue to call on the federal government to outline a roadmap for the recovery of air travel that is based on science and reflective of the current realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Deer Lake – Hamilton, 2x weekly (May 21)
  • St. John’s – Hamilton, 5x weekly (June 13)
  • Deer Lake – Toronto, 2x weekly (June 20)

New Brunswick

  • Moncton – Hamilton – 4x weekly (May 9)
  • Saint John – Toronto – 4x weekly (May 12)
  • Moncton – Edmonton – 2x weekly (May 9)

Prince Edward Island

  • Charlottetown – Hamilton – 4x weekly (May 1)
  • Charlottetown – Toronto – 3x weekly (May 2)
  • Charlottetown – Edmonton – 2x weekly (May 1)

Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Halifax – Edmonton – 5x weekly (May 1)
  • Halifax – Ottawa – Daily (June 19)

Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to benefit from increased domestic capacity

Today’s network expansion announcement also includes new routes and increased frequencies in previously announced new stations: Ottawa, Saskatoon and Regina.

Ontario

  • Ottawa – Winnipeg – 4x weekly (June 19)
  • Winnipeg – Toronto – Daily (June 20)

Saskatchewan

  • Saskatoon – Winnipeg – 2x weekly (June 14)
  • Saskatoon – Toronto – 2x weekly (June 22)
  • Regina – Winnipeg – 2x weekly (June 16)
  • Regina – Toronto – 2x weekly (June 22)

Demand for affordable travel equates to record new bookings and job opportunities across Canada

Throughout the pandemic the ULCC model has proven especially resilient, with Swoop carrying around one million travellers in 2021. Despite ongoing travel restrictions Swoop saw strong demand for both domestic and international travel over the peak holiday period, a trend that has continued into the new year. The airline further demonstrated operational resilience, ranking amongst the most reliable airlines in Canada/North America, with a flight completion rate of 99.4 per cent and on-time arrival of 78 per cent in 2021.

In preparation of the airline’s fleet growth and network expansion, Swoop is ramping up staffing across Canada, creating jobs to support economic recovery and stimulating hospitality and tourism sectors from coast-to-coast.

Full Details of Swoop’s New Domestic Routes

Route Peak
Weekly
Frequency
Start Date Total one-
way fare
(CAD)
 
Base
Fare
(CAD)
Taxes and
Fees (CAD)
Hamilton to Charlottetown 4x weekly May 1, 2022 $49.00 $1.29 $47.71
Edmonton to Halifax 5x weekly May 1, 2022 $179.00 $118.40 $60.60
Toronto to Charlottetown 3x weekly May 2, 2022 $59.00 $5.14 $53.86
Hamilton to Moncton 4x weekly May 9, 2022 $79.00 $27.84 $51.16
Toronto to Saint John 4x weekly May 12, 2022 $59.00 $5.14 $53.86
Hamilton to Deer Lake 2x weekly May 21, 2022 $59.00 $9.23 $49.77
Hamilton to St. John’s 5x weekly June 13, 2022 $99.00 $45.54 $53.46
Winnipeg to Saskatoon 2x weekly June 14, 2022 $59.00 $3.12 $55.88
Winnipeg to Regina 2x weekly June 16, 2022 $59.00 $3.12 $55.88
Winnipeg to Ottawa 4x weekly June 19, 2022 $65.00 $6.83 $58.17
Halifax to Ottawa Daily June 19, 2022 $60.00 $0.10 $59.90
Edmonton to Charlottetown 2x weekly June 19, 2022 $179.00 $118.40 $60.60
Toronto to Deer Lake 2x weekly June 20, 2022 $99.00 $40.54 $58.46
Toronto to Winnipeg Daily June 20, 2022 $69.00 $13.99 $55.01
Edmonton to Moncton 2x weekly June 20, 2022 $179.00 $118.40 $60.60
Toronto to Regina 2x weekly June 22, 2022 $59.00 $19.12 $39.88
Toronto to Saskatoon 2x weekly June 22, 2022 $69.00 $25.64 $43.36
†Special introductory fares are limited quantity. Book by February 23, 2022 for travel between June 1 and July 15, 2022.

Additional Quotes

  • “Welcome Swoop to Newfoundland and Labrador! This is good news for the province as travel restrictions begin to ease and we prepare to host friends, family, and guests for Come Home Year in 2022. While offering travellers another airline option for leisure travel, this will also help spur economic recovery and the building of important business connections.”

–      The Honourable Steve Crocker, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

  • “We’re delighted to welcome Swoop Airlines to the Saint John Airport. We are committed to exceeding passenger expectations and travellers will love Swoop’s ultra-low fares and direct service from Saint John to Toronto.”

–       Alexander (Sandy) Ross, Saint John Airport (YSJ) President and CEO

  • “The Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport is very excited to welcome ultra-low fare airline Swoop to our airport and to New Brunswick! This is great news for our region and the traveling public, with a May 6th launch date and non-stop flights to both Hamilton and Edmonton from YQM in 2022, We are proud to be one of the 28 airports where Swoop operates and look forward to further growing their presence and activity at YQM. Fly Swoop!”

–       Bernard F. LeBlanc, President & CEO GMIAA – Managing Director YQM 

  • We are excited to welcome Swoop to Deer Lake as a new airline with new destinations for travellers leaving our region. It will also allow access to a new market for people in Western and South Western Ontario and for the first time Alberta. As we are recovering it will make it easy for families and friends to reconnect more often. It will also increase access for tourists to take in the many great experiences we offer in Western Newfoundland & Labrador.”

–        Tammy Priddle, President and CEO, Deer Lake Airport

  • “We are pleased to welcome Swoop as our newest airline partner. This link to Hamilton will enhance access to Ontario and provide travellers with a new and exciting option that we haven’t had before.”

–       Peter Avery, Chief Executive Officer, St. John’s International Airport Authority

  • “We are excited to see Swoop’s announcement of two new destinations for Prince Edward Island. This new service from Toronto and Hamilton, along with Swoop’s new flights from Edmonton this summer, is welcome news for our Island’s tourism industry and for Islanders looking for additional low fare travel options.”

–       Doug Newson, YYG Charlottetown Airport CEO

To learn more about Swoop please visit FlySwoop.com and for information on how Swoop is ensuring a safe and healthy travel experience visit FlySwoop.com/traveller-safety.

About Swoop

Swoop is on a mission to make travel more affordable and accessible for all Canadians. Established in 2018 as an independent subsidiary of the WestJet Group of Companies, Swoop is Canada’s ultra-not-expensive airline. Offering scheduled service to destinations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, Swoop’s unbundled fares put travellers in control of purchasing only the products and services they desire.

Swoop’s modern fleet of ten Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, will grow to 16 with the addition of six Boeing MAX-8 in 2022. At FlySwoop.com travellers can quickly and easily book flights, manage bookings, check-in, view boarding passes, track flights and access Wi-Fi service in-flight.     

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Evidently no impact on Air Canada.

Calgary airport workers vote to strike after rejecting offer from Airport Terminal Services

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By Michael King  Global News
Posted February 11, 2022 5:32 pm

As the airline industry in Canada starts to see a rebound, a disintegrating labour negotiation could throw a wrench into Calgary’s airside operations.

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In a statement released on Thursday, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District Lodge 140 stated that negotiations between the union and its employer Airport Terminal Services have hit “turbulence.”

IAM represents employees in Calgary who provide baggage handling and aircraft services for WestJet and United Airlines and the Calgary International Airport.

Kevin Timms, general chairperson for IAM District Lodge 140, said negotiations had been going on for months and a “final offer” from the company was presented to the employees this week.

“We took the employer’s offer out to our membership and it was turned down. Our members also voted overwhelmingly to go on strike,” wrote Timms. “It is completely disrespectful to our members how this employer has handled themselves throughout this bargaining process.”

  •  

“It is the will and the work of our members that make the aircraft move. They work in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, in all weather conditions and 365 days a year,” said Timms. “Airport Terminal Services needs to get back to the table and negotiate a fair collective bargaining agreement. Our members feel disrespected.”

Possible disruptions

If the union does choose to act on its strike vote, IAM officials said it would have to provide ATS with 72 hours notice, adding that job action could cause flight disruptions.

A WestJet spokesperson said in a statement that the airline is aware of the ongoing negotiations, but would not comment on the possible impact on the airline’s schedule or passengers.

 

“We have been informed that the parties are in continued discussion and committed to negotiating towards an agreement,” read the statement.

The Calgary International Airport echoed WestJet’s comments in a statement, adding that it’s focused on safe and efficient operations.

“We understand discussions are still underway and we are hopeful that the parties involved can reach an agreement as soon as possible. We are in close contact with our airline partners and ATS to monitor the situation so we can keep travelers updated on any potential impacts.”

ATS did not respond to request for comment from Global News.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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Union representing contracted grounds crews for WestJet say they're close to calling a strike

Lucie Edwardson - 12h ago
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image.png.cb314ff29a09ecade1765ef88b7dac8a.png

Contract negotiations between the union representing WestJet's grounds crew and baggage staff at the Calgary Airport have reached a boiling point with their employer, Airport Terminal Services (ATS).

Negotiations between the company that WestJet contracts its grounds crew from and the union representing the workers have reached a critical juncture, where a strike could be called with 72 hours notice at any time.
© Darryl Dyck/The Canadian PressNegotiations between the company that WestJet contracts its grounds crew from and the union representing the workers have reached a critical juncture, where a strike could be called with 72 hours notice at any time.

The two parties have been in negotiations since September, but haven't been able to come to a new agreement. 

Union representative Kevin Timms with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) says ATS recently provided employees a "substandard" offer.

"We held a vote on Monday for a tentative agreement that was voted down — rejected, and voted in favour of a strike in very high numbers," Timms said.Lo

Since then, ATS has asked the union to come back to the table, and negotiations have been rekindled.

 
 

But, if an agreement can't be met, Timms said the union is ready to provide ATS with the mandatory 72 hours notice prior to striking.

Without grounds crews, Timms said ATS would have a hard time getting planes moving off or onto gates.

"When people drop their baggage off at the counter it goes on the conveyor belt into the back room where it's these employees that bring them to the aircraft, these employees that load and unload the aircraft," he said. 

"They are in charge of pushing that aircraft out for the departure, as well as when the planes come in, they would be in charge of parking it in the proper spots … emptying the lavatories as well as filling the potable water and towing the aircraft from gate to gate."

ATS did not respond to a request for comment, but in an emailed statement WestJet said it has been informed that both parties are committed to negotiating an agreement.

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