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Monday,  February 26, 2024 2:48 AM 

WestJet CEO “surprised” by junk fees mention in fall fiscal update

  • Air
  •   11-24-2023  10:48 am
  •   Pax Global Media

WestJet CEO “surprised” by junk fees mention in fall fiscal update
Pax Global Media

The Liberal government released its mid-year fiscal update last week, revealing that it is ramping up efforts to reduce what it calls unfair junk fees on consumers, such as cell phone roaming and banking charges and, in the interest of travellers, flying fees.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is working with the Canada Transportation Agency (CTA) to amend regulations to ensure airlines stop charging extra to seat children under 14 next to their parents on flights.

The changes are set to take effect in the coming months. However, the CEO of Canada’s second-largest airline was taken back by the mention, says that his company already follows Ottawa’s proposal.

Speaking with BNN Bloomberg on Nov. 24, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said he was “surprised” to see the government single out airlines, saying that Calgary-based WestJet has “always done this” when it comes to ensuring young children can sit with adults at no extra charge.

“This doesn’t create any concern, except for why they introduced it if all airlines do it anyway,” von Hoensbroech said in an interview last Thursday (Nov. 23).

Airfare prices drop

The price of airfare has dropped over the past year, new data from Statistics Canada shows.

In a consumer price index (CPI) released on Nov. 21, the agency said the price of air transportation dropped 19.4 per cent last month compared with October 2022.

The figure follows a roughly 21 per cent year-over-year drop in September and a 20 per cent decrease in August, after last year’s post-COVID spike in demand last year outpaced airlines’ capacity to meet it, resulting in higher fares.

Last week, von Hoensbroech said Canadians can expect to see more deals on air tickets this winter and next summer as the pent-up demand for travel moderates and as airlines improve their productivity.

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