WestJet issued this statement:
WestJet today announced further cuts to its schedule as the airline continues to face volatile demand and instability in the face of continuing federal government travel advisories and restrictions.
As a result of the reduction in capacity, 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. There will also be a hiring freeze implemented.
“Immediately following the federal government’s inbound testing announcement on December 31, and with the continuation of the 14-day quarantine, we saw significant reductions in new bookings and unprecedented cancellations,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “The entire travel industry and its customers are again on the receiving end of incoherent and inconsistent government policy. We have advocated over the past 10 months for a coordinated testing regime on Canadian soil, but this hasty new measure is causing Canadian travellers unnecessary stress and confusion and may make travel unaffordable, unfeasible and inaccessible for Canadians for years to come.”
“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,” continued Sims. “This is a cruel outcome for loyal and hardworking staff who have been diligently working through the pandemic.”
With today’s announcement the airline will remove approximately 30 percent of its currently planned February and March capacity from the schedule, a more than 80 percent reduction year over year. In addition, the airline will reduce domestic frequencies by 160 departures as frequently evolving advisories, travel restrictions and guidance continue to negatively impact demand trends. Any impacted guests will be contacted directly.
Network impact by the numbers: