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WestJet cancels additional 120 Sunday flights as frigid temperatures continue

A WestJet plane waits at a gate at Calgary International Airport in Calgary, on Aug. 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh A WestJet plane waits at a gate at Calgary International Airport in Calgary, on Aug. 31, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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More flights were delayed and cancelled Sunday as frigid temperatures continued to hammer airports across the Prairies.

WestJet issued an update on its website at 1:10 p.m., announcing that 120 flights have been cancelled Sunday, on top of 122 cancellations Saturday that left a number of passengers bewildered and unable to reach their destinations.

Arslan Zahid saw his flight from Regina Friday afternoon cancelled and had to book his own hotel for the night.

On Saturday, he spent a few hours in line trying find a new flight.

“They just said they are not rebooking, so I don’t have any ticket. My ticket got cancelled. I don’t know if I’m stuck here for a few days or until when,” Zahid said.

Another passenger emailed CTV News, saying WestJet wasn't taking phone calls or responding to emails, while WestJet agents at the airport were instructing stranded passengers to email or telephone WestJet for answers.

APOLOGY

The airline apologized in its update for the communication breakdown.

“We sincerely apologize to guests who have been impacted by cancellations and delays, resulting from ongoing extreme cold temperatures affecting Canada’s prairie region,” WestJet said.

“With Calgary as WestJet’s main hub and the majority of our operations based in Western Canada, the effects of four consecutive days of frigid temperatures are having a compounding impact on our operations, our crew and partners who are battling these conditions to maintain our network.".

“Our guest support teams are working diligently to provide re-accommodation options to all impacted guests as quickly as possible; however, due to the continued severe weather, options remain limited. “

The airline is offering flexible change/cancel guidelines for guests travelling to or from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba between Jan.11 and Jan. 15.

on Saturday, WestJet said the plunging temperatures in many prairie cities they serve have rendered de-icing fluid ineffective, slowing down flight departures.

Crews and ground partners working outside are being limited in how much time they can spend outside, while the freezing weather has left essential gear like bridges and fuel stations inoperable.

The cold snap is forecast to continue through Monday morning.

With files from Tyler Barrow

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