WestJet, Updates


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I've worked several full or almost full flights over the last week. Not one complaint from customers about the decrease in personal space.

I wish I could be so bullish. We were already teetering on the edge with the amount of personal debt people were carrying. The bailout money sounds like a lot but in a few months it's going to look li

Dagger suggested in a post (on which thread I can't remember) that government likely sees it as incumbent on the airlines to state where they're at and to set out their business plans for the next cou

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35 minutes ago, Warren said:

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Yeah, good one!  The only problem is that when the CV19 issue is finally resolved we will have to address the economy and it will be a huge issue.

Personally I'm concerned, for purely selfish reasons, that the government is giving vast amounts of money to everyone but I'm one of the few who actually pays taxes - that does not bode well for me. 

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Hey, if you guys know how to reboot the world after all this such that people are going to be climbing over each other to spend ten hours on a Slaveship 777 to Rome this summer you will be greater geniuses than George Marshall.

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26 minutes ago, seeker said:

Personally I'm concerned, for purely selfish reasons, that the government is giving vast amounts of money to everyone but I'm one of the few who actually pays taxes - that does not bode well for me. 

I'm not sure I get where you're coming from.  Doesn't everyone who works or has income of most any sort pay taxes?

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7 minutes ago, FA@AC said:

I'm not sure I get where you're coming from.  Doesn't everyone who works or has income of most any sort pay taxes?

Yeah, just making a point about our progressive tax system and the fact that the "costs" of this will be disproportionally carried by the higher tax bracket earners.  It's just meant as a facetious comment so let's not derail the thread with that discussion here.

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12 minutes ago, seeker said:

Yeah, just making a point about our progressive tax system and the fact that the "costs" of this will be disproportionally carried by the higher tax bracket earners.  It's just meant as a facetious comment so let's not derail the thread with that discussion here.

Ahh, got it!

Not to take things further off topic, but it might be prudent to wait until we know how much of a taxpayer-funded bailout our employer ends up getting before we assess who has paid what and who stands to benefit.

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Just now, FA@AC said:

Ahh, got it!

Not to take things further off topic, but it might be prudent to wait until we know how much of a taxpayer-funded bailout our employer ends up getting before we asses who has paid what and who stands to benefit.

Yup, fair enough.  And, of course, it's impossible to measure the ultimate benefit "we" might receive from a faster recovery.  Anyway, just joking - not meant as an actual critical analysis.

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And no discussion yet in the media or political arena about the death toll that results from a devastated economy. There were 10,000 suicides in the US attributable to the meltdown in 2008, as people lose jobs the death toll from stress rises, as more people are pushed into poverty the deaths from poorer nutrition etc. That is not to say that we toss out the measures that are being taken, but a clear discourse on the real effects and the 'other' deaths that will occur should be had and understood.

 

I get a feeling that people believe the governments will step in and make it all better!

Then tonight, Alberta estimating an unemployment rate of 25% (great depression numbers) and national rates of 15%. Those are massive and the social upheaval will be as large.

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On 4/4/2020 at 8:40 PM, seeker said:

Yeah, just making a point about our progressive tax system and the fact that the "costs" of this will be disproportionally carried by the higher tax bracket earners.  It's just meant as a facetious comment so let's not derail the thread with that discussion here.

There is no telling how the costs of this will be borne. It's going to be borrowed money until this government or a future one finds the will to raise more revenue. A rise in the GST back to 7% looks inevitable to me at the point where the economy is strong enough to bear it

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Westjet bringing back laid off employees utilizing the government program.

https://www.myeastkootenaynow.com/6522/westjet-to-rehire-6400-employees/

 

As far as dealing with all this government debt is concerned I imagine it will be dealt with largely by somewhat higher taxes but even more with a high rate of inflation.

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WestJet Update: 13 April ~ Domestic Flight Schedule Changes

From WestJet

westjet.png?w=1024

DOMESTIC FLIGHT SCHEDULE CHANGES

WestJet is making changes to its domestic flight schedule to address significantly reduced guest demand during the COVID-19 crisis.

While demand remains low and some city pairings have been temporarily removed, we are maintaining critical lifelines to all 38 Canadian airports that we currently operate to, 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. The overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and we continue to evaluate further reductions.

For guests with travel after April 16 through May 4, we are proactively notifying them of their travel options.

The following city pairs have been temporarily removed:

Vancouver – Fort St. John                 1x daily

Edmonton – Kelowna                        1x daily

Edmonton – Saskatoon                     3x weekly

Edmonton – Regina                           4x weekly

Edmonton – Winnipeg                      1x daily

Bookings and full schedule details are available at westjet.com.

REPATRIATION FLIGHT SCHEDULE

  • Tuesday, April 14 from Port of Spain (POS), Trinidad and Tobago to Toronto (YYZ), Canada on WestJet’s 737-800.
  • Friday, April 17 from Guatemala City (GUA), Guatemala to Toronto (YYZ), Canada on WestJet’s 737-800.

FLEXIBLE/CHANGE CANCEL POLICY NOW INCLUDES JUNE

  • We continue to offer our guests flexible change/cancel policies for travel in April, May and June with refund to travel bank for use within 24-months.
  • More details on our policies are available here.

AFFECTED FLIGHTS – visit the blog (updated)

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Westjet Update: 16 April ~ Charles Duncan Adds to Swoop President to Title

From WestJet

WESTJET EXECUTIVE CHARLES DUNCAN ADDS SWOOP PRESIDENT TO TITLE 

13227_20170608_160552-1-1024x683.jpg

WestJet today announced that Charles Duncan, WestJet Executive Vice-President in charge of cargo, will now add Swoop President to his title. Charles takes on the additional role starting April 17, 2020 as Steven Greenway steps down after two years.  

“Charles has been a valued member of the Executive team and his airline experience at the helm of WestJet Encore will be an asset to Swoop,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Charles takes on the role at a crucial time and we look forward to his guidance, energy and expertise as the WestJet Group weathers this COVID-19 crisis and then as we look to build off the success that Swoop has already achieved.” 

“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Swoop,” said Charles Duncan, WestJet Executive Vice-President and President of Swoop. “In spite of the current challenges in the market, we remain committed to the ultra-low-cost carrier model and believe it will be an important element of our future success.” 

Charles will continue to report to Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO and in addition to the WestJet cargo team, will add three direct reports from Swoop. Charles joined WestJet in June of 2017 as the President of WestJet Encore. In August 2018, he moved into the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer before adding Cargo to his portfolio in 2019. Before joining WestJet, he was with Continental Airlines and then, through merger, with United Airlines.  

Continued Sims, “I would also like to thank Steven Greenway for his time at Swoop and on the WestJet Executive team. Steven was essential to the startup and success of Swoop and I thank him for his role in introducing the ULCC experience to many Canadians and creating such successful operations in such a short time. Steven’s tenacious and no-nonsense nature will be missed.” 

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I know there are layoffs for the pilots and FA's , how about mtce and the non union middle / upper management staff?  I image a number of the Mtce folk need to be kept on just to keep the  parked aircraft airworthy.  

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Some in Vancouver.....

ScreenShot003.jpg.928ebca730e4a73bea9c3a0d19916f3e.jpg

 

Some In Calgary

ScreenShot004.jpg.1aeb52e190ce1e865893fd6e31cba338.jpg

Not good for aircraft just to sit......Hopefully not too many problems will arise but I think statistically there are less serviceability problems  if the birds are always in the air....Aircraft tend to have weird things go wrong when sitting for too long......but then again I am sure WJ  AMEs will  quickly solve what problems that may  arise.?

Be safe everyone and unless you married a barber/hair stylist enjoy slipping back into the '70's....?

 

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6 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

 

Be safe everyone and unless you married a barber/hair stylist enjoy slipping back into the '70's....?

 

Here's your solution Kip;

 

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8 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

Some in Vancouver.....

ScreenShot003.jpg.928ebca730e4a73bea9c3a0d19916f3e.jpg

 

Some In Calgary

ScreenShot004.jpg.1aeb52e190ce1e865893fd6e31cba338.jpg

Not good for aircraft just to sit......Hopefully not too many problems will arise but I think statistically there are less serviceability problems  if the birds are always in the air....Aircraft tend to have weird things go wrong when sitting for too long......but then again I am sure WJ  AMEs will  quickly solve what problems that may  arise.?

Be safe everyone and unless you married a barber/hair stylist enjoy slipping back into the '70's....?

 

There is a weekly and monthly storage check program for the aircraft.  Things get run through their cycles to keep everything moving.

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How WestJet reacted quickly to virus – and faced up to tough decisions

By Pilar Wolfsteller17 April

The Canadian carrier’s chief executive Ed Sims describes the difficult choices already made and those that lie ahead amid the coronavirus outbreak.

When WestJet chief executive Ed Sims drives past Calgary International airport to his office every morning, he sees a row of parked aircraft, grounded by the coronavirus pandemic, and wonders what fresh hell awaits.

“It’s just so unpredictable for all of us at the moment,” Sims says. “The strange thing about this environment is that we have no waypoints. It’s really difficult for people in the airline world who love that sense of predictability, and, let’s be honest, that sense of control.

“Whatever our role – pilots, engineers, chief executives – we are all having to adjust to a world without any control.”

Ed Sims WestJet

Source: The Canadian Press

Sims: the airline’s command centre quickly identified that borders would close

WestJet is Canadian aviation’s irreverent upstart, born in 1996 as a low-cost carrier in the western boomtown at the foot of the Rocky Mountains known more for its annual rodeo – the Calgary Stampede – than its ability to sustain a multibillion-dollar international airline.

In the almost quarter-century of its existence, and through many an economic crunch and strategic misstep, the airline has survived, learned, thrived and built up a devoted customer base that is giving legacy carrier Air Canada, 60 years its senior, a real run for its money.

WestJet’s management team started planning for a catastrophic event related to the coronavirus long before it actually became one. In the first week of March, when the virus still seemed a very distant threat, Canada’s second-largest and fastest-growing airline set up an incident command centre, with experts and managers from every corner of the company.

They were tasked to anticipate what operations would look like not if, but when, the spread of the virus brought the airline and the entire industry to its knees. Since then the command centre has met every morning at 09:00 local time for a situation report.

BACK TO BASE

From day one, the participants knew it would be a bloodbath.

“We grounded all our international fleet four days before Canada announced border closures. What that gave us was time. We completely rescheduled all of our network to bring aircraft back to base in the space of 72h without having to do it 6h before the borders were closing around us.”

It was a massive logistical undertaking for his operations team to find parking space for 120 aircraft, or two thirds of WestJet’s fleet, which brought the airline to the size it was in 2003, in just a few days.

The team secured space in Calgary for about half of those airliners, as well as parking spots in Edmonton, Toronto and Kelowna.

“The first lesson for me was, you know this is difficult. You face it, and you get to it early, before somebody takes the options away,” Sims says. “When I knew we were parking two thirds of the fleet, I knew I was going to have to essentially lay off at least half of our people.”

On 16 March the airline said it would begin suspending international flights and reducing domestic operations by 50% later that week. On 24 March, the company dismissed 6,900 employees, and on 17 April WestJet said it is laying off another 1,700 pilots.

“When I briefed our management team about the horrible reality of having to lay off 6,900 staff, I asked them to focus on all the jobs they were saving, the 7,000 that we were retaining in the organisation, and how important every single one of those jobs were. And if you can just focus on what you’re retaining, rather than the reality of what you’re losing, then you don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task that you’re being asked to undertake.”

Parked WestJet aircraft

Source: WestJet

Around half of WestJet’s grounded fleet is parked at Calgary

About 500 employees chose early retirement, and the rest are expected to return to the airline in some capacity when this crisis is over.

Sims says WestJet will partake in the “Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy” programme, in which the government has made C$71 billion ($50.6 billion) available to companies that have seen revenue decline by at least 30% due to the coronavirus crisis. The programme reimburses up to 75% of employees’ salaries, to a maximum of C$847 weekly, according to the government’s website.

“We will be looking to participate in the government scheme and to bring those people back onto the payroll, although not back into work, because frankly, there just isn’t the passenger demand and there isn’t enough work for them,” Sims says. “The ability to bring those people back in, albeit on a lower salary level than some of them would have been used to prior, is at least helping people make ends meet, which in the current environment is probably as much as you can do.”

The airline also said in March that its executive team members and directors had taken pay cuts, it released most of its contractors, instituted a hiring freeze, stopped non-essential travel and paused many capital projects – all in the name of preserving cash.

CONTINUING OPERATIONS

WestJet is currently operating between 100 and 180 domestic and repatriation flights per day, while keeping close tabs on load factors. The target is 50%.

“We’ve been cancelling two to three days out, to try to make sure that we don’t fly planes with just one or two people on board. This concept of “ghost flying” is anathema to me, because I’m also still trying to keep one eye on environmental damage.”

But the term “load factor” doesn’t mean what it used to. It’s currently distorted, he says, due to the social distancing measures the airline has introduced, including not selling middle seats on the larger aircraft, and staggering occupied seats in the Dash 8-400 turboprops, to ensure that passengers who do fly have enough personal space to stay safe.

Like some of its peers, WestJet has also pivoted to carrying more cargo, and has been repatriating Canadians stranded overseas as a result of the international health crisis. Aircraft are flying to destinations which the airline does not usually serve with regularly scheduled flights, including Panama, Trinidad and Havana, among others, to pick up Canada’s citizens.

“We’re carrying enormous amounts of essential medical supplies, both inbound on some of our repatriation flights but also across Canada, particularly to communities that would otherwise be really struggling with a shortfall in road traffic,” Sims says.

MAX CONUNDRUM

With all of these planes sitting idle, Sims is wondering what the future will look like, and how long it will take the industry to return. WestJet’s 13 Boeing 737 Max jets have been grounded for more than a year now, and the airline is considering what to do with the 44 more it has on order.

“In previous conversations, I’ve said we’re committed to the forward order,” Sims says. “But now we have to look at a very different reality where, if I take 9/11 as a parallel – it took three years for North American traffic levels to recover, from September 2001 to September 2004. This has been like a sequence of disasters of that magnitude on the aviation industry week after week and I think it is a reasonable assumption to say it’ll take even longer for traffic levels to recover.

“Max customers have to look at their forward order and say, is that still going to be appropriate? I can’t answer that right now, other than it’s causing me to do a lot of soul searching. How much capacity is actually going to be viable?”

WestJet 737 Max

Source: Shutterstock

WestJet’s 13 737 Max jets have been grounded for more than a year

Viability of the Max orders aside, Sims says he is optimistic that the airline and its loyal band of “WestJetters” will successfully navigate the crisis, no matter how long it takes. Three strategic elements inspire this confidence, and the result could serve as a crisis management case study for business administration students of the future.

First, he says, secure the element of time – make difficult decisions before they are made for you. Second, set a rhythm to follow rigorously, “like a metronome”.

But most importantly, bring in the professionals – he calls them “warriors” – who are able to manoeuvre through something that none of them has ever experienced before.

“I always recruited people with battle scars, but who are still smiling. And that sense of resilience has been so critical in the way that we manage this,” he says.

“Through that we retain an ability to put ourselves in the shoes of the people we’re laying off. We put ourselves in the shoes of guests who are stranded in Panama, or in San Salvador. And we then reflect that we have to fight to do whatever we can to help those people.”

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