WestJet announced today that the airline would be slashing its flight capacity by a third, citing “instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions.”
The airline said in a released Friday that “the equivalent of 1,000 employees across the WestJet Group of Companies will be impacted through a combination of furloughs, temporary layoffs, unpaid leaves and reduced hours.”
WestJet will also implement a hiring freeze. “Regrettably, this new policy leaves us with no other option but to again place a large number of our employees on leave, while impacting the pay of others,” said WestJet CEO Ed Sims.
“This is a cruel outcome for loyal and hardworking staff who have been diligently working through the pandemic.”
Changes made recently by the federal government require inbound travellers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed entry to Canada.
According to Sims, the airline immediately saw “significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations.”
Flights through February and March have been reduced by 30 percent. More than 230 weekly departures, including 160 domestic have been slashed.
International flight have been cut to five a day from 100 only a year before.
WestJet has also suspended eleven routes out of Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver to some sunny, southern spots as well as eliminated seasonal service to the following locations: Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Huatulco, London (Gatwick), Nassau (Bahamas), Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), Tampa, Turks and Caicos.
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