WestJet announced that 1,000 jobs are being cut and hundreds of flights are being cancelled amid the COVID-19 restrictions.
On Friday morning, the Calgary-based airline said they continue “to face volatile demand and instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions.”
Because of this, WestJet said 1,000 employees across the WestJet Group of Companies will be impacted through a combination of “furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves and reduced hours.”
There will also be a hiring freeze implemented.
“Immediately following the federal government’s inbound testing announcement on December 31, and with the continuation of the 14-day quarantine, we saw significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO in a statement.
“The entire travel industry and its customers are again on the receiving end of incoherent and inconsistent government policy. We have advocated over the past 10 months for a coordinated testing regime on Canadian soil, but this hasty new measure is causing Canadian travellers unnecessary stress and confusion and may make travel unaffordable, unfeasible and inaccessible for Canadians for years to come.”
With today’s announcement the airline will remove approximately 30% of its currently planned February and March capacity from the schedule—a more than 80% reduction year over year.
In addition, the airline will reduce domestic frequencies by 160 departures as frequently evolving advisories, travel restrictions and guidance continue to negatively impact demand trends. WestJet said any impacted guests will be contacted directly.
The airline will operate approximately 150 daily departures, returning to levels not seen since June 2001.