WestJet extends flight reductions through March citing travel restrictions

Feb 7 2022, 6:31 pm

Canadian airline WestJet will continue operating 20% fewer flights than normal until at least the end of March 2022, the company announced Monday.

The carrier called the reductions “avoidable” in a news release and said they’re the direct result of continuous travel restrictions.

“With duplicative PCR testing required for asymptomatic fully vaccinated travellers, air travel continues to be the most tested, yet most restricted consumer activity in Canada,” the company said.

WestJet is calling on the federal government to release a roadmap to recovery for the travel and tourism sector to reduce the uncertainty that’s been hard on businesses.

“For two years, WestJet has gone above and beyond to keep our guests safe throughout their travel journey,” Harry Taylor, WestJet’s interim president & CEO, said. “Travel advisories, restrictions and testing requirements were meant to be temporary, yet our industry has now reached an impasse that is severely impacting the recovery of our airline and sector.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Canada remain high as the Omicron variant circulates widely in communities across the country. The federal government has not indicated when PCR testing requirements may be relaxed.

Pre-arrival testing is required for travellers returning to Canada from abroad. Domestic travellers within Canada don’t need to do COVID-19 testing, although they do need to prove they’re fully vaccinated.

WestJet said customers would be notified by email if their flight is impacted by schedule reductions.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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