Air Canada Defends YYZ Shutdown, WestJet Supports Review

GTAA confirms CEO Howard Eng was actually on vacation during the ground-stop, his performance to be part of board review
Howard Eng, CEO, GTAA
Howard Eng, CEO, GTAA
Air Canada and WestJet have made statements regarding the unprecedented ground stop at Toronto's Pearson International Airport last week in the midst of the polar vortex.

WestJet has said it supports a review of the disruptions that occurred at Pearson International Airport last week. The review will be conducted by an ad hoc committee of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) board of directors.

The Calgary-based airline said it looks forward to participating in the process as it moves forward.  

"Toronto Pearson is WestJet's second busiest airport with more than 83 flights departing daily to 52 destinations and we look forward to participating in the process," said Fred Cleveland, WestJet's executive vice-president of operations. "Improving guest experience, regardless of the challenges faced in weather events, while ensuring the safety and well-being of our guests and our people is an opportunity we welcome wholeheartedly."

Meanwhile, The Canadian Press reports that Air Canada CFO Michael Rousseau told an analyst conference on Thursday that the airline supported the GTAA issued ground-stop.

Rousseau said Air Canada made the decision to stop flying into Toronto to avoid leaving passengers stranded on the tarmac for four to five hours.

Rousseau did question how there was so much ice on the tarmac that a typical 20-minute airplane towing took 90 minutes, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Star reports today that although GTAA spokespeople claimed CEO Howard Eng was "out of the country on business" as well as "in Edmonton on business," he was in fact on vacation during the ground-stop.  

The Star reports that Eng was on vacation in Edmonton during the crisis, contradicting previous statements made by the GTAA last week that he was on vacation for the first part of his trip, but was away on business during the crisis.

Eng's performance will be part of the review process according to the GTAA board.

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