WestJet cuts 15% of scheduled flights citing staffing shortages, Omicron impact

Dec 30 2021, 9:26 pm

It might be time to review your travel plans if you’re flying with WestJet. The Canadian airline is cancelling 15% of its scheduled flights.

In a press release issued on December 30, WestJet Interim President and CEO Harry Taylor announced that over the last three days, the airline has seen a “significant increase” in flight cancellations and delays that are impacting their 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,” Taylor wrote. “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.”

The company said that though they had a contingency plan and hired back thousands of WestJet staffers to help support operations safely, they find themselves “no longer able to predictably resource our planned schedule” due to Omicron’s impact, and have thus decided to consolidate nearly 15% of scheduled flights through to January 31 next year.

All WestJet customers with impacted flights will be proactively notified about changes to their flight schedules.

“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,” the airline’s press release noted. “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.”

Taylor also called on federal and provincial governments to urgently provide airlines with additional measures to minimize disruption.

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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