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WestJet taking steps to cope with 'unpredecented challenge'


Calgary-based WestJet says it is taking a "very measured" strategy in order to maintain services this summer, which includes a lighter summer travel schedule that the company introduced earlier this year.

The airline shared details of its summer travel strategy Thursday, a day after Air Canada said it would be cancelling flights to "avoid customer service shortfalls."

According to a statement on its website, WestJet said it was scheduled to operate at 21 per cent lower capacity this July as compared to July 2019.

"Our proactive efforts have been foundational to our summer planning and when comparing our current capacity to that of 2019, where we operated more than 700 flights a day, this summer we will operate 25 per cent fewer flights, averaging approximately 530 flights a day," the company wrote.

Some of the additional steps WestJet took to optimize its guests' experiences are hiring additional personnel, making sure guests are informed well in advance about any schedule changes, introducing technology to expedite check-in options among other efforts.


The news of changes to flights comes as Canadians are looking to travel over the July 1 long weekend or what WestJet is calling "the busiest travel weekend" since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

"We have been working closely with our airport partners, third-party providers and the federal government to mitigate challenges."

WestJet CEO Alexis Von Hoensbroech says the situation is "unprecedented."

"The pandemic has been devastating for the entire industry. The industry has been down to less than 20 per cent of its normal demand for more than two years," he said.

"Now we are seeing a massive demand rebound, which is good on one end but it's no surprise that this is now causing operational challenges that we are now dealing with."

He says those challenges are happening all over the world and is sorry for any inconvenience it may cause Canadians who are travelling.

"I can just apologize like many other airline CEOs are as well that this is a very, very challenging time as demand is recovering.

"It's not just airlines, it's many, many parts of the travel chain that are dealing with the same challenges. Whether it is airports, suppliers, government agencies. If just one of the pieces of this chain won't work, you see ripple effects through the entire chain."

For further information on WestJet flights, including schedules and flight status, you can go to their website. Top Stories

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