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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 8:43 AM 

WestJet mechanics strike led to 1,000+ cancelled flights; airline in recovery mode

  • Air
  •   07-01-2024  2:47 pm
  •   Pax Global Media

WestJet mechanics strike led to 1,000+ cancelled flights; airline in recovery mode
(WestJet)
Pax Global Media

The mechanics strike at WestJet may be over, but the recovery work has only just begun.

The strike action taken by Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), which represents WestJet’s aircraft maintenance engineers and tech ops, over the Canada Day long weekend led to a total of 1,078 cancelled flights, the airline revealed Monday (July 1).

That total also includes 18 cancellations from June 27.

As of 12:00 a.m. Monday, WestJet began ramping up its operations. However, as previously reported, a full resumption will take time and further cancellations will be required over the coming days.

Monday (July 1) saw a total of 292 flight cancellations; tomorrow (Tuesday) will see 27, the airline says. 

“We are grateful to be recovering our operation; however, we fully recognize the continued impact on our guests and sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding,” said Diederik Pen, president of WestJet Airlines and group chief operating officer, in a statement Monday afternoon.

“Across our airline, our teams are working around the clock to safely bring the 130 aircraft parked across Canada back to the skies, as efficiently as possible.”

WestJet in recovery mode

As a result of the strike that began Friday (July 28) and concluded Sunday, WestJet parked 130 of its 180 aircraft.

While labour action has concluded, its impact will continue for additional days as WestJet works to recover in the following areas:

  • WestJet aircraft are parked at 13 airports across Canada, eight of which do not have crew bases. This means crew need to be transported to the aircraft for retrieval.
  • As a result of the disruption, work to recover stranded crew across our network will be an immediate priority.
  • Aircraft that were parked ceased operating on schedule and will require standard maintenance and safety checks before returning to service.
  • On average, 1,600 crew members are required to execute WestJet’s operation each day, the airline pointed out. As a result of the strike, many operationally sensitive WestJetters were disrupted, taking them out of position to continue operating their assigned schedule.

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech posted to his LinkedIn page early Monday to comment on the situation, saying "the last three days were among the most difficult of my career."

"More than 800 cancelled flights and 100,000 stranded guests later, we had to find a solution – and we did,” he wrote.

The CEO went on to say that work begins "to safely restore our operations as swiftly as possible."

"Unfortunately, this will take time,” von Hoensbroech wrote, “but we will move forward with the resolve that no further labour action will impact the summer plans of our guests and our people.”

Guests with imminent travel plans are advised to check the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport.

Visit WestJet’s Guest Updates page for more information regarding flight status, travel changes and more.


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