WestJet, Swoop Begin Flight Cancellations as Pilot Negotiation "Stalemate" Continues

WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech
WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech

As the WestJet Group prepares for labour action by WestJet and Swoop pilots, the airline has started taking down its network, it announced in a release 18MAY.

According to WestJet, preemptive flight cancellation ensures the airline can avoid abandoning aircraft in remote locations without support and allows for proactive communication with guests and crew to minimize the potential for pax to be stranded mid-trip.

WestJet says the decision to cancel flights comes "as the WestJet Group remains in a stalemate with the union regarding unreasonable wage expectations that if realized would permanently damage the financial viability of the group's future."

"We are extremely disheartened to find ourselves in a place where we have to activate our contingency plan and subsequent takedown of our network as a result of the strike notice served by ALPA and their inability to accept a reasonable offer. We deeply regret the disruption this will have on the travel plans of our guests and the communities and businesses that rely on our critical air service," said Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Executive Officer, the WestJet Group.

"We remain at a critical impasse with the union and have been left with no choice but to begin taking the painful steps of preparing for the reality of a work stoppage."

Given that a tentative agreement has not yet been reached, the WestJet Group says it is "parking the majority of its 737 and 787 fleet, in a measured, phased and safe approach."

Cancellations apply to both WestJet and Swoop, but WestJet Encore, WestJet Link as well as limited 737 flights will continue to operate through any labour disruption, the airline says.

"We remain at the bargaining table, unequivocally committed to achieving a deal as soon as possible, but are equally ready to weather labour action for as long as it takes to arrive at a reasonable outcome," continued von Hoensbroech.

"Any guest impact is too high of a cost in the wake of these negotiations and we sincerely apologize that valued guests were caught in the middle of an avoidable conflict."

Guests travelling are advised to check the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport.

WestJet's Guest Updates page and Swoop's information hub have more information regarding flight status, travel changes and more.

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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