Category Archives: WestJet Encore

ALPA Takes Legal Action Against WestJet and WestJet Encore


WestJet and WestJet Encore Pilots File Unfair Labour Practice Complaint and Application for an Interim Order with the CIRB. WestJet Pilots File for Conciliation

Calgary—WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), today filed an unfair labour practice (ULP) complaint and an application for an interim order with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).    ALPA also filed a notice of dispute and request for conciliation assistance with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) with regard to collective bargaining at WestJet.
“No one is more committed to the success of WestJet than our pilots—many of us are owners in the airline,” said Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of WestJet’s ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC).    “However, management’s actions are a clear violation of the Canada Labour Code, and we urge the CIRB to order them to cease and desist.  Our pilots will stand up for our rights and continue to work toward a fair and reasonable collective agreement that meets the priorities of our pilots and brings stability to the airline.”
The ULP complaint and application for an interim order assert that WestJet and WestJet Encore management violated numerous provisions of the Canada Labour Code by, among other things:
Directly negotiating with pilots instead of with the union over key terms and conditions of employment at Swoop, an ultra-low-cost alter-ego airline which is slated to begin flying this summer;
Interfering with ALPA’s exclusive representational rights of WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots; and

  • Changing and ignoring well-established pilot work rules and policies.
    ALPA is asking the CIRB to find that WestJet and WestJet Encore management officials violated these and other provisions of the Canada Labour Code. Furthermore, by filing an application for an interim order on behalf of both WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots, ALPA is asking the CIRB to take immediate action to neutralize the potential harm to WestJet and WestJet Encore pilots as raised in the ULP. As ALPA’s interim order application has been filed on an expedited basis, we hope to have the CIRB’s ruling on these issues in the coming weeks.

“Our Encore MEC supports the WestJet MEC and their actions as we stand guard over the future of our careers and protect against any erosion of our working conditions,” said First Officer Ryan Petrie, Encore MEC chairman.

ALPA Files for Conciliation at WestJet
Today, WestJet pilots, through ALPA, also formally requested government assistance in labour negotiations, through the process known as conciliation.
“The federal conciliation process allows our pilot group the government intervention we need to reach our first contract,” McFadyen said.    “As ALPA members, we now have the legal voice we need to say no when management violates the labour code.    We will not sit idly by as management jeopardizes our careers and tries to circumvent our union.”
In a bid to negotiate the first collective agreement for WestJet pilots, ALPA and WestJet have been in bargaining since September 2017.    During that time, the parties remain far apart on many issues.    After nearly half a year of making a sincere effort, the parties have only tentatively agreed to seven sections, leaving almost two dozen sections remaining in that require management’s attention.
“We are optimistic that a federal conciliation officer will move the bargaining process along,” said Capt. McFadyen. “Our pilots have built this airline into the global carrier WestJet is today.   We are proud of what we have accomplished, and believe it is time for management to successfully complete our first collective agreement in short order.    We believe that with the FMCS’s assistance this goal will become a reality,” said McFadyen.
With this request for conciliation, the Minister of Labour now has 15 days to appoint a conciliation officer.    Once appointed, a conciliation officer will work with the parties for 60 days in an effort to reach an agreement.    If both parties remain at an impasse following this period, then a 21-day cooling-off period begins before the parties can engage in self-help.


WestJet expects Swoop ancillary revenues will be double mainline carrier

Airline says revenue grew to $1.22 billion in Q3, up from $1.12 billion a year earlier.

Flying on WestJet’s low-cost carrier Swoop will come with a price: ancillary fees that will cost travellers about twice what they pay on the mainline carrier, the CEO of the Calgary-based airline said Tuesday.   Gregg Saretsky said he expects non-fare fees on Swoop will be very similar to so-called ultra low-cost carriers in the U.S.
“We’re about $19 per guest currently on the mainline operation and I would expect that we should be able to get (double) that on Swoop,” he said during a conference call about its third-quarter results.   WestJet’s fees for services like flight changes, cancellations and checked bags increased 12 per cent in the third quarter to $117 million, or $18.64 per passenger.  Premium economy seat revenues were up 19 per cent in the quarter.
Swoop is set to launch service in June with two 189-seat Boeing 737-800s.    The fleet will increase to six planes by September and 10 in the summer of 2019.   Modelled after the relationship between Australia’s Qantas Airways and Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd., Swoop will fly mostly to different destinations than WestJet, but may also supplement the larger airline on major city routes, Saretsky added.   “They’ll be high-utilization aircraft because they’ll turn and burn and they’ll have more utilization than WestJet’s fleet.”   He said Swoop will operate as an independent airline with its own reservation system, operator’s certificate and airport check-in counters staffed by its own employees.   “We have been very resolute in wanting to build this at the absolute lowest (cost), so there will not even be connectivity between Swoop and WestJet,” he told analysts.   Passengers flying on Swoop from Calgary to Toronto, for example, will have to collect their bags and recheck them for corresponding flights to Sudbury.   Swoop’s financial results, however, will be incorporated with those of WestJet.
Ed Sims, WestJet’s executive vice-president commercial, said there is still significant demand in the Canadian market to stimulate traffic at lower fares, especially using secondary airports like Hamilton, Ont. and Abbotsford, B.C.   Unlike startup competitors like Canada Jetlines Ltd. which is also set to fly next summer, WestJet’s existing operations could be used to carry passengers in case of service disruptions.   “Some of these new lower-funded entrants will find it difficult to be able to match and then run the risk of potentially leaving their passengers stranded,” he told analysts.   Air Canada has said it will use its low-cost leisure travel subsidiary Rouge to compete on the very low-cost market in Canada.

New aircraft, new lounges

Meanwhile, WestJet said it expects the new widebody Boeing 787s that will start entering its fleet in January 2019 will help attract more business travellers.   It plans to add lounges at its hubs in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver and will increase the use of its mobile apps for bookings, check-in and prioritized boarding.   Saretsky said many Canadian corporations are looking for better deals because flying in Canada at the last minute can be expensive.   “So as much as Air Canada might fight back, we have a massive cost advantage and a product specifically designed to accommodate that type of traveller.”

Profit up

WestJet saw its third-quarter profit grow by about 20 per cent compared with a year ago as it increased capacity and traffic.   The airline said it earned $138.4 million or $1.18 per diluted share for the quarter that ended Sept. 30.   That compared with a profit of $116.0 million or 97 cents per diluted share in the same quarter last year.   Revenue totalled $1.22 billion, up from $1.12 billion.    WestJet shares slipped 14 cents on Tuesday to close at $26.96 on the TSX


WestJet Increase US / Caribbean / Mexico service in S18

WestJet on Monday (29JAN18) announced planned service increase on various routes to the US, Mexico and The Caribbean for summer 2018 season, mainly effective from 01MAY18.    Planned service increase as follow.

Calgary – Dallas/Ft. Worth Peak season increases from 6 to 7 weekly
Calgary – Las Vegas Increase from 20 to 22 weekly
Calgary – Palm Springs Increase from 4 to 5 weekly
Edmonton – Las Vegas Increase from 10 to 11 weekly
Edmonton – Los Angeles Increase from 6to 7 weekly
Toronto – Cancun Increase from 9 to 10 weekly
Toronto – Fort Myers Increase from 4 to 5 weekly
Toronto – Nassau Increase from 4 to 5 weekly
Toronto – Puerto Plata Increase from 2 to 3 weekly
Toronto – Punta Cana Increase from 5 to6 weekly
Vancouver – Cancun Increase from 2 to 3 weekly
Vancouver – Los Cabos Increase from 1 to 2 weekly

Previously announced by the airline, WestJet is launching following routes to the US and Mexico:
Calgary – Denver eff 08MAR18 1 daily 737-700
Calgary – Mexico City eff 14MAR18 4 weekly 737-700, 1 daily from 29APR18
Vancouver – Mexico City eff 14MAR18 3 weekly 737-700, 1 daily from 29APR18


WestJet S18 Domestic service increase

WestJet on Monday (29JAN18) announced service expansion on domestic routes, including frequency increase on key routes from Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver.    Majority of these service increase will commence on 25MAR18.

Calgary – Abbotsford Increase from 33 to 35 weekly
Calgary – Fort McMurray Increase from 24 to 31 weekly
Calgary – Grande Prairie Increase from 18 to 26 weekly
Calgary – Halifax Increase from 14 to 15 weekly
Calgary – Kelowna Increase from 45 to 47 weekly
Calgary – Montreal Increase from 19 to 20 weekly
Calgary – Nanaimo 
Increase from 2 to 3 daily
Calgary – Penticton Increase from 10 to 14 weekly
Calgary – Vancouver Increase from 88 to 112 weekly (16 daily). Schedule optimized to Calgary departure at :30 of the hour, Vancouver departure at :00 of the hour)
Calgary – Victoria Increase from 35 to 36 weekly
Calgary – Windsor Increase from 6 to 7 weekly
Edmonton – Calgary Increase from 77 to 86 weekly
Edmonton – Fort McMurray Increase from 24 to 25 weekly
Edmonton – Kelowna Increase from 48 to 49 weekly
Edmonton – Saskatoon Increase from 19 to 20 weekly
Edmonton – Vancouver Increase from 49 to 58 weekly
Toronto – Montreal Increase from 88 to 93 weekly
Toronto – Ottawa Increase from 76 to 85 weekly
Toronto – Saskatoon Increase from 10 to 12 weekly
Toronto – Victoria Increase from 3 to 4 weekly
Vancouver – Fort St. John Increase from 6 to 12 weekly
Vancouver – Kelowna Increase from 40 to 49 weekly
Vancouver – Ottawa Increase from 7 to 14 weekly
Vancouver – Regina Increase from 6 to 7 weekly
Vancouver – Victoria Increase from 33 to 35 weekly

The airline on Wednesday (31JAN18) also announced the delay to its WestJet Link operation, operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines.  Previously scheduled to commence from March 2018, service will now commence from June 2018:

Calgary – Cranbrook eff 20JUN18 3 daily (2 daily on Saturdays; Previous eff date: 07MAR18)
Calgary – Lethbridge eff 21JUN18 3 daily (2 daily on Saturdays; Previous eff date: 07MAR18)
Calgary – Lloydminster eff 21JUN18 6 weekly (Day x6; Previous eff date: 14MAR18)
Calgary – Medicine Hat eff 22JUN18 3 daily (2 daily on Saturdays; Previous eff date: 31MAY18)
Calgary – Prince George eff 20JUN18 1 daily (Previous eff date: 14MAR18)