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Saturday,  July 13, 2024 9:51 AM 

WestJet stabilizes operations after strike; Hurricane Beryl brings new cancellations

WestJet stabilizes operations after strike; Hurricane Beryl brings new cancellations
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

WestJet says its network has nearly recovered from a strike that led to almost 1,200 flight cancellations during and after the Canada Day long weekend.

In an update issued Wednesday (July 3), the airline said its operations have “stabilized," noting that it's projecting "minimal future cancellations."

Over the course of one week, from Thursday, June 27 to today (July 4), WestJet cancelled a total of 1,171 flights, according to a summary the airline posted to its website. 

The disruptions were linked to a surprise strike on July 28 called by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), which represents WestJet’s aircraft maintenance engineers and tech ops.

READ MORE: WestJet confirms end to AMFA strike, says "returning to business-as-usual flying will take time"

The labour action ended late Sunday (June 30) – during one of the busiest travel periods of the year – but its impact was still felt this week as cancellations continued.

Restarting an airline takes time – WestJet said it had to recover stranded crew and assign them new schedules, and perform maintenance and safety checks on planes, before operations could be fully restored.

READ MORE: “A complete disaster”: Anger & frustration as agents clean up mess left by WestJet strike

Yesterday, WestJet referred to Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), saying that in the event reaccommodation with WestJet or an alternative airline isn’t available within 48 hours of a scheduled departure, guests are entitled to request a refund to their original form of payment. For more on this, visit the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website.

As of Wednesday, WestJet's flight schedule showed eight cancellations. That pales in comparison to Sunday’s situation, which saw 432 cancelled flights.

Hurricane Beryl disrupts flights 

Hurricane Beryl now factors into the mix. The powerful storm is currently leaving a path of destruction in the Caribbean, prompting WestJet to post travel advisories for popular destinations like Cancun, Mexican and Montego Bay and Kingston in Jamaica.  

Hurricane Beryl hit Jamaica Wednesday afternoon, temporarily closing airports. As a result, WestJet has suspended flights to and from Montego Bay and Kingston until at least Thursday, July 4.

READ MORE: Hurricane Beryl - Jamaica closes airports, JTB posts Q&A for guests in destination

The airline says it will resume operations to the island “when it is safe.”

As a rule of thumb, WestJet Guests with imminent travel plans are advised to check the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport.

Travellers can also visit WestJet’s Guest Updates page for more information regarding flight status, travel changes and more.

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