Following Air Canada’s decision to slash its summer flight schedule by more than 15 per cent, WestJet is chiming in on the topic, saying it spent the past few months “proactively” reducing its summer capacity to ensure “stable” operations.
As per a company notice posted online Thursday (June 30), WestJet said it will operate 21 per cent less capacity in July 2022 than it did in July 2019.
“Our proactive efforts have been foundational to our summer planning and when comparing our current capacity to that of 2019, where we operated more than 700 flights a day, this summer we will operate 25 per cent fewer flights, averaging approximately 530 flights a day as announced on March 13, 2022,” the airline wrote.
At Toronto Pearson, where travellers in recent weeks have faced long lineups at security checkpoints as well as cancelled or delayed flights, WestJet is flying 32 per cent fewer flights in July than it did pre-pandemic.
In an interview with the Canadian Press on Thursday, WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said the airline, in the months leading up to summer, anticipated logistical problems at airports.
"I don't think there is another airline that serves Toronto that has reduced its schedule as much as we have,'' von Hoensbroech said. "We have been quite proactive and thoughtful in dealing with our flight plans."
The “proactive efforts” WestJet says it has taken include “extensive planning” to ensure aircraft are flying in peak performance, hiring more than 1,000 people across all operational areas, informing guests in advance about evolving travel timelines and requirements, technology enhancements such as digital vouchers and pre-paid options to self-serve and save time at airports and “planning our schedule responsibly to accelerate Canada’s recovery.”
The airline says it has also invested in additional oversight to support third-party providers responsible for baggage handling.
The insights were shared just before the Canada Day long weekend, which von Hoensbroech, via Twitter, said will be a “busy weekend for travel” as WestJet will serve its most guests since 2019.