Comox Valley Airport CEO cautiously optimistic about summer

From Comox Valley Record – link to source story – Thanks to CW

Airlines, increased schedule returns to the Comox Valley Airport

ERIN HALUSCHAK | Jun. 10, 2021

The Comox Valley Airport is hoping travel may increase this summer as passengers become more comfortable flying again. File photo

The Comox Valley Airport is hoping travel may increase this summer as passengers become more comfortable flying again. File photo

Looking ahead at the summer, Mike Atkins is cautiously optimistic.

He knows there is pent-up demand for travel, but understands there needs to be a level of comfort and safety for passengers with pandemic and post-pandemic travel, particularly in aviation.

Atkins is the chief executive officer of the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ), a role he took over in the midst of the pandemic in October 2020. While he is relatively new at the position, as the former 19 Wing commander, he understands not only the Comox Valley but the aviation industry as well.

As with other airports across the country and world, passenger numbers have plummeted throughout the past year, but he is hopeful some signals from airlines operating out of the airport indicate signs of recovery to the hard-hit industry.

“Starting at the end of the month, all airlines (from YQQ) have a very aggressive schedule,” he noted. “We’ll go from very little to having four airplanes remaining overnight.”

Atkins said as a whole, the airport was always able to remain fully staffed since the start of the pandemic, thanks to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which assisted in covering more than $700,000 in wages. They also received funding from the provincial government for ongoing operational costs and have applied for funding through the Regional Air Transportation Initiative, a $206-million federal government program to aid in the return in services in regional air transportation.

At the start of the pandemic, YQQ lost services from Air Canada; Pacific Coastal Airlines paused their operations to and from the airport to Vancouver for about a month and while WestJet reduced their flight frequency, they did not pause their service and continue to service the airport.

“(At the end of the month) Pacific Coastal will offer three flights daily, WestJet will fly to Calgary twice a day and will have a direct to Edmonton flight, along with WestJet link (to Vancouver) and a direct flight to Toronto. Right now, Air Canada will fly three days a week, and that may change to daily service,” said Atkins.

In terms of the return of the Comox to Puerto Vallarta direct flight in the fall, Atkins noted there is still uncertainly around international travel as he is unsure what government regulations may be in place by then.

“We are always looking at new routes and opportunities,” he added.

With hopes of travellers returning, one of the main projects currently underway at the terminal building is the relocation of the pre-board screening area. Atkins explained the goal is to increase the distance between passengers in addition to the holding room, particularly when there are multiple flights arriving and departing.

On June 23, the Comox Valley Airport will host their virtual annual general meeting at 3 p.m. For more information, visit comoxairport.com.

WestJet to offer Canadians the most flights to Hawaii this winter

Airline flying more flights than any other Canadian airline with additional Dreamliner service and new direct flights from Calgary to Kona and Lihue

CALGARY, AB, June 10, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced significant growth to its Hawaii network, featuring more Dreamliner flight options from Western Canada to Maui and new non-stop service from Calgary to Kona and Lihue this winter. With 57 weekly roundtrip flights on 10 nonstop routes, WestJet offers more service between Canada and Hawaii than any other airline.

“With easing travel restrictions, we know our guests are planning to turn their long-awaited Hawaiian getaway dreams into a well-deserved reality.” said John Weatherill, WestJet, Chief Commercial Officer. “We’ve increased our winter service to Hawaii by more than 25 per cent from 2019 to ensure our guests have increased flexibility and the most affordable, non-stop options from Western Canada.”

New service from Calgary to Kona and Lihue

WestJet is adding new weekly non-stop service from Calgary (YYC) to Kona (KOA) and Lihue (LIH) beginning in December. With the addition of the new service, WestJet will offer service to four Hawaiian destinations non-stop from Calgary and two from Edmonton.

“Our guests will love to say aloha to the additional direct flights to tropical Hawaii,” said Bob Sartor, President & CEO, The Calgary Airport Authority. “We’re ready to welcome guests back safely to the home and hub of WestJet and we look forward to the added sunny winter options for Albertans and connecting passengers from out of province.”

More 787 Dreamliner options

Starting this winter, WestJet will add 787 Dreamliner service from Calgary and Vancouver to Kahului, Maui (OGG) with 13 weekly flights. WestJet’s 787 service to Maui from Western Canada is conveniently scheduled with daytime departures to ensure guests arrive in Maui in the early afternoon, with time to make the most out of their plans. The airline’s signature Dreamliner service features lie-flat seats with on-demand dining and entertainment.

“Like the Kolea bird, many Canadians return each year to the Hawaiian Islands during the winter months,” said David Y. Ige, Governor, Hawaii. “They respect the people, place and culture, and we welcome them back. Increased international passengers can help us better balance the needs of our residents and visitors. Mahalo to WestJet for partnering with the state to keep residents and visitors alike safe and healthy.”

“We are very happy with the launch of WestJet’s additional routes to Hawai’i,” said  Lorenzo Campos, Account Director for Hawai’i Tourism Canada. “We would like to thank WestJet for being our trusted partner and for their continuous support of The Hawaiian Island and sharing the aloha spirit and always embracing the Hawaiian value of malama. We are looking forward to welcoming our Canadian family back this winter.” 

Current Hawaii entrance requirements can be found at https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel/.

Earlier this week, WestJet launched its Travel Ready Series aimed to welcome guests back to travel. Travel Ready was created to ensure guests are equipped and prepared with the information they need to enjoy a smooth and safe return to the skies.

WestJet route and schedule frequency

Market787 Peak Frequency737 Peak FrequencyEffective
Calgary-Maui6x weekly1x weeklyNovember 5, 2021
Calgary-Honolulu7x weeklyDecember 3, 2021
Calgary-Kona*1x weeklyDecember 19, 2021
Calgary-Lihue*1x weeklyDecember 19, 2021
Vancouver – Maui**7x weekly3x weeklyOctober 31, 2021
Vancouver-Honolulu**14x weeklyOctober 31, 2021
Vancouver-Kona7x weeklyOctober 31, 2021
Vancouver-Lihue7x weeklyOctober 31, 2021
Edmonton-Maui2x weeklyDecember 12, 2021
Edmonton-Honolulu1x weeklyDecember 18, 2021

*New routes added to WestJet’s winter schedule serving Hawaii.

**Service currently operating in WestJet’s summer schedule.

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

Toronto flights returning to Fredericton as early as June 26

From CBC News – link to source story

Air Canada and WestJet are both set to make a return to the Fredericton International Airport by late June

Aidan Cox · CBC News · Jun 09, 2021

The Fredericton International Airport is expecting WestJet to offer daily flights to Toronto from its airport starting on June 26. (Submitted by Fredericton International Airport)

As higher vaccination rates are expected to bring loosened COVID-19 restrictions, the Fredericton International Airport is preparing to welcome the return of flights to cities like Toronto and Montreal by the end of June.

Johanne Gallant, the airport’s president and CEO, said WestJet is set to bring back Toronto flights on June 26, while Air Canada is expected to bring back Montreal flights on June 28 and Toronto flights on July 1.

PAL Airlines will also start offering flights from Fredericton to Deer Lake, N.L., and St. John’s, as well as Halifax and Ottawa later this summer.

Speaking on CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton show, Gallant said the flights that are returning won’t bring the airport back to its normal capacity, but it’s a good start.

“So we had more frequency than that pre-pandemic, however, this is a really good start,” Gallant said.

“And they [the airlines] will measure the demand. This is all [supply] and demand, so as the flight fills up and the demands grow, we’ll see more and more flights.”

Johanne Gallant, president and CEO of the Fredericton International Airport, said while flights won’t be going back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of June, it will be ‘a good start.’ (Submitted by Fredericton International Airport)

Gallant said it’s been a tough year for airlines, which have weathered a crash in demand due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel.

However, she said they’re gearing up for a return to normal and making sure things are safe for passengers when they start flying again.

“And at the airport also, we’re increasing, you know, the safety aspect — cleanliness and everything else. So we’re hoping with the vaccination rates going up that things will start to resume to some normalcy.”

Flights returning to capitalPlanes are expected to take flight this month at the Fredericton airport. We get details from Johanne Gallant, CEO of the Fredericton International Airport. 8:31

In an email, WestJet spokesperson Madison Kruger said the company is watching provincial reopening plans and vaccine rollout efforts.

“We are encouraged by the provincial reopening plans announced that promote the return of travel in Atlantic Canada, based on science, data and vaccination levels as early as July 1, 2021, in New Brunswick,” Kruger said.

“These plans provide a clear path and guidance towards allowing Canadians to safely travel to and from the province and will ensure WestJet can safely lead the restart of travel to this region.”

Kruger confirmed WestJet will begin offering daily flights between Toronto and Fredericton as of June 26, as well as between Toronto and Moncton as of June 30.

Air Canada and PAL Airlines did not respond to a request for comment.

WestJet announces the retirement of President and CEO, Ed Sims

CALGARY, AB, June 9, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today, announced that President and CEO, Ed Sims, will retire at the end of 2021. In four years with WestJet, Mr. Sims was responsible for the successful introduction of the company’s Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft, the launch of two new airline ventures, the significant expansion of WestJet’s international network, as well as the continued growth of WestJet Vacations, WestJet Cargo and the WestJet Rewards program.

Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

Ed Sims will remain as President and Chief Executive, as well as a member of the WestJet Group board of directors until December 2021. Moving forward, he will continue in a senior advisory role with Onex Partners focused on aerospace and aviation.

“I want to thank Ed for his contributions to WestJet’s strategy and growth initiatives over the past four years,” said Chris Burley, Chairman of WestJet’s board of directors. “Ed has led WestJet through the worst crisis in aviation history and will see us through to the end of 2021. We owe our relative strength and stability in no small measure to Ed’s leadership and steady hand. On a personal note, we’re pleased that Ed will be able to rejoin his family in New Zealand at the end of the year.”   

“My time with WestJet has been an absolute career highlight and a privilege in my 35 years in the travel and aviation industries,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “The global pandemic and the ongoing travel restrictions have separated so many of us for so long from loved ones. With two children in New Zealand, I am prioritizing the needs of family who I will not have seen in two years. I would like to thank WestJet’s founder Clive Beddoe, Onex and past and current board members and my Executive Leadership team who have all been tremendously supportive. My special thanks go to the remarkable group of people who call themselves WestJetters for everything they have achieved.”

“Ed was a critical part of Onex’ investment in WestJet,” said Tawfiq Popatia, a WestJet board member and Senior Managing Director at Onex. “With the WestJet transaction closing in December 2019 and the pandemic hitting Canada in February the following year, we had only a few weeks between closing and the onset of the pandemic and it’s hard to overstate the importance of Ed’s leadership through this exceptionally challenging period. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Ed.”

The board of directors of WestJet has commenced a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.

A video from Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, is available for download here.

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

Canadian flight prices plummet as airlines use tactic to lure travellers back, expert says

From CP24 – link to source story

Westjet

Flight prices within Canada are deeply discounted but these deals won’t last long, one expert thinks. (The Canadian Press)

Sean Davidson, Multi-Platform Writer, CTV News Toronto | Friday, June 4, 2021

Canadian airlines are offering flights at prices hardly ever seen before, but one expert says there’s a strategy behind the deep discounts and that these rock-bottom deal won’t stick around for long.

On Westjet, it currently costs $117 to fly one-way from Toronto to Calgary. A flight from Toronto to Vancouver only costs about $10 more.

Meanwhile, a non-stop flight from Toronto to Kelowna will only set you back about $134.

And these deals aren’t just for dates during the lockdown. On Air Canada and Westjet’s website, the deals appear to go until at least the end of 2021.

“It’s time to buy your tickets if you want to get them cheap,” says Frederic Dimanche, director of the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism at Ryerson University. “I don’t think this is going to last very long.”

He believes Canadian airlines, like Air Canada and Westjet, are lowering their prices for a variety of reasons.

“The Canadian government will be relaxing their constraints on travel soon … it’s important for the airlines to take advantage of this,” Dimanche said. “One way that they can do it is by lowering the prices to increase demand.”

“It’s called price elasticity. It’s a traditional strategy in marketing, you lower the price, you increase demand.”

He believes another major factor behind the deep discounts is generating travel confidence in Canadians.

“We know Canadians are not confident about travelling yet,” he said. “They need to be told it’s safe to travel again and that’s one objective of the pricing strategies.”

He thinks when people tell family and friends they’ve booked a trip, it will help others slowly build confidence in travelling again.

But once demand starts to pick up, Dimanche said the cheap prices from Air Canada and Westjet will disappear because it is not sustainable financially.

“A ticket from Toronto to Vancouver for $140, the airline isn’t going to be making a lot of money on this,” Dimanche said.

Even Westjet admits that these deep discounts won’t be the new normal, saying in a statement to CTV News Toronto that as the demand to fly increases, so will fare prices.

Air Canada said in a statement that their fare prices fluctuate for many reasons, which includes demand.

It appears these airlines know immediate demand for travel will be within Canada. Both the Westjet and Air Canada websites are promoting their deals and destinations within Canada.

“With provinces setting timelines for reopening, we are promoting our services because Canadians are now planning future travel,” Air Canada told CTV News Toronto. “There is pent-up demand, with people eager to visit family and friends, take deferred vacations or even fly for business reasons.”

Airlines prepared for unruly passengers ahead of return to air travel

From City News 1130 – link to source story

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS | Jun 2, 2021

(iStock image)

HALIFAX – After months of reduced air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines in Canada say they’re ready to contend with what could be a turbulent summer season. Air Canada said it has seen an uptick in disturbances on flights since the beginning of the pandemic, but did not provide any details.

In the U.S., where air travel has increased significantly in recent weeks, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have announced the suspension of alcoholic beverage services because of incidents of passenger disruption, including violent assaults on flight attendants.

Timothy Perry, president of Air Line Pilots Association Canada, said in an interview Tuesday that there’s been an increase in disruptive passenger behaviour since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I think all flight crew have taken notice in the increase in unruly behaviour among passengers, however I do also believe that while concerning, I don’t think the flight crew are concerned about the ability to handle it,” Perry said.

Perry said flight crew training, which includes de-escalation strategies, and other protocols will help protect the safety of the crew and passengers in the event of an onboard disturbance.

WestJet also said that while unruly situations are “extremely rare,” flight crews are trained to manage such incidents.

An Air Canada spokesperson said compliance issues are dealt with “primarily through education, using our standard procedures.”

Wesley Lesosky, president of the Air Canada Component of CUPE, did not say if crew members have noticed increased disturbances on flights but did say the safety of the flight crew was an ongoing issue for the union.

Rowdy behaviour is never appropriate, but especially the year we’ve had, any aggression or unruly conduct onboard or towards cabin crew is just unacceptable,” Lesosky said in an email.

Cabin crew have a hard enough job as it is, being tasked with enforcing mask compliance, monitoring alcohol consumption, and ensuring the travelling public is safe.”

Air Canada and WestJet did not respond to queries about their in-flight alcohol policies. However, Perry said restricting alcohol in some or all parts of a plane isn’t an unusual tactic on Canadian flights.

“That has happened and to be honest, that happens more than you might think,” he said. “Most people enjoy alcohol responsibly on the plane, sometimes that’s not possible and one of the very first steps in de-escalating unruly behaviour … is to cut off alcohol to part of the cabin or all of the cabin.”

Transport Canada did not respond to a request for comment on how many incidents have been reported on-board flights in the last year.

– With files from The Associated Press

Airlines pull back on summer plans for P.E.I. in light of reopening dates

From CBC News – link to source story

Charlottetown airport expects ‘significant reduction in capacity’ compared to previous plans

CBC News · Jun 01, 2021

Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, said he is now expecting fewer summer flights than he was anticipating earlier in the month. (CBC)

The chief executive officer of the Charlottetown Airport Authority says Prince Edward Island’s reopening plans are having a negative impact on the number of flights being scheduled for at least the early part of the summer.

Doug Newson told CBC News that talks have been taking place with Canada’s two major carriers, Air Canada and West Jet.

Newson said uncertainty around when the Island will actually welcome visitors without them having to isolate and monitor for signs of COVID-19 for two weeks have led to a scaling-back in some tentative plans for the 2021 summer schedule.

“It is a significant reduction in capacity,” he said. 

Only a single Air Canada flight — to and from Montreal — has been scheduled at P.E.I.’s main airport for several months as the pandemic brought air travel to a near-halt.

“Air Canada is still planning to add a flight to Toronto later in June, so as of June 17 we will have two flights: one Toronto, one Montreal,” Newson said. 

The Charlottetown airport has been operating at a fraction of its normal pace during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

“WestJet is still planning to return on June 25, but they had originally planned to do 11 flights a week … that will be reduced down to four flights per week. 

“Air Canada had originally planned to double their flight numbers in July, so two Montreal flights as well as two Toronto flights, and that’s been cut in half.” 

Newson said August schedules for the airlines are not finalized.

The Charlottetown airport CEO said some of the other provinces are opening up to the rest of Canada earlier than P.E.I. plans to, and that will likely impact summer vacation booking plans. 

Newson agrees that safety is the top priority, but as COVID-19 vaccination rates go up he’s hoping P.E.I. officials will decide to move up the reopening schedule as well. 

“We’re a business based on runways”: Air Canada, WestJet join other industry players calling for a roadmap for recovery

From Travelweek Group – link to source story

Date: May 28 2021

By: Kathryn Folliott

“We're a business based on runways”: Air Canada, WestJet join other industry players calling for a roadmap for recovery

“We’re a business based on runways”: Air Canada, WestJet join other industry players calling for a roadmap for recovery

TORONTO — The urgent need for a clear roadmap for Canada’s recovery coming out of the pandemic, especially where travel is concerned, was underlined by a panel of travel industry executives including Air Canada’s President and CEO Michael Rousseau and WestJet’s VP Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs Andy Gibbons at a webinar yesterday presented by the Canadian Airports Council (CAC).

Rousseau and Gibbons were joined on the panel by airport executives Tamara Vrooman (YVR) and Philippe Rainville (YUL), plus David Goldstein (Travel Alberta) and Patrick Doyle (American Express GTB). The panel was hosted by Perrin Beatty with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and was part of the CAC’s 90-minute webinar on Air Travel Recovery in Canada.

While several provincial governments including Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Alberta have come out with with step-by-step reopening plans, the federal government has not, said Beatty. “The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been urging the government for a clear path for reopening,” he said. “But we’re still lacking a clear and predictable plan for the country.”

And as YVR’s Vrooman pointed out, a plan for reopening Canada’s borders isn’t just about the travel industry, it’s about Canada’s economic recovery overall. “I can’t speak strongly enough that this isn’t just related to our industry,” said Vrooman.

As the travel industry well knows, other countries and regions, including the U.S. and the EU, are reopening and, in the case of the EU and other countries, readying digital systems to confirm proof of vaccination, immunity through previous transmission of COVID-19, or negative tests.

Canada is working with its G7 counterparts to align Canada’s documentation with whatever systems are in place, as confirmed in recent months by Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Air Canada’s Rousseau stressed how important that alignment is for Canada’s recovery. “We have to get a solution on vaccine passports that’s coordinated with the G7 countries,” he said.

WestJet’s Gibbons summed it up: “All we really want is travel guidance based on the latest science. That’s what we want and that’s what we need.” Other countries have done that as a matter of course, said Gibbons, but “Canada has not.”

And as YVR’s Vrooman puts it, “We’re a business based on runways. What we need is a runway and a clear line of sight.”

After close to 15 months of an almost complete travel shutdown, it’s not just the airlines and airports calling for a reopening plan. “For the thousandth millionth time, give us a plan,” said Brett Walker, GM, Collette (Canada) earlier this month, echoing the frustrations of many retail travel agents, tour operators and other suppliers.

Yesterday’s webinar coincided with the CAC’s release of a whitepaper on aviation recovery, ‘Holding Pattern: Canada needs a Swift Recovery and Competitive Air Sector.’

Here are some of the points from the CAC-commission whitepaper, presented during the webinar by Solomon Wong, CEO, InterVistas:

  • The number of passengers that moved through Canada’s airports in April 2021 was 9% of 2019’s levels.
  • Direct connectivity fell more than 90% across all Canadian regions in April 2020 versus April 2019. The picture for 2021 is just as dire, says the CAC, with direct connectivity falling even further compared to 2019.
  • According to the CAC’s analysis, if increased costs for the aviation supply were to lead to a 25% increase in airfares, that would suppress 20% of passenger traffic (demand). Based on passenger traffic at Canadian airports in 2019, the expected loss in passenger demand would equate to roughly 16 million passengers – roughly three airports the size of Ottawa.
  • In 2019, the average airfare paid by passengers in Canada was approximately $470, and there were approximately 162 million passengers at Canada’s airports. In the case of a hypothetical 25% and 50% increase in the price of air travel in Canada, the resulting average airfare would be approximately $590 and $705.
  • The longer the recovery, the more difficult it will be for Canada’s airlines to compete in the same international aviation markets also served by foreign carriers, who may have a financial advantage over Canadian airlines due to government support these airlines may have received throughout the pandemic.
  • The loss in passenger traffic has resulted in sharp reductions in overall airline capacity – measured by the number of seats available – at Canadian airports, some of which have lost all commercial air services during the pandemic (e.g., Toronto Billy Bishop Airport, Saint John Airport, Sydney Airport (Nova Scotia), and Prince Rupert Airport, among others). Medium-size airports such as Winnipeg and Regina have also been impacted, losing almost 80% of airline capacity and all direct international services.
  • In terms of airline seat capacity, Canada has fallen from 16th to 23rd in the world, with capacity down roughly 80%.
  • Direct connectivity fell more than 90% across all Canadian regions in April 2020 versus April 2019.
  • The whitepaper also suggests that Canada’s aviation sector would benefit from deploying a recovery agenda that is at least in part compatible with that already initiated by the U.S., Canada’s largest trading partner.

WestJet Statement on Canada’s Border Measures Report

CALGARY, AB, May 27, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet welcomes the findings outlined by the Health Canada Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel in the Border Measures Report released today and thanks the panel for their efforts in bringing forward this report.

“Over the past 15 months, WestJet has been requesting science-based travel guidance and this report represents a responsible path forward,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “These findings are evidence-based recommendations that are proportionate and reduce risks. We ask that the government immediately prepare a safe restart plan based on this report and current global policies. With vaccinations ramping up, Canadians need to know they can travel once again.”

Outlined in the report and demonstrated successfully by the Alberta Testing Pilot Program, YVR’s Pre-Departure Testing Program and the McMaster Study, programs in which WestJet was an active participant, the relationship between testing and quarantine can safely evolve based on science, data and vaccination levels.

As vaccination rates continue to rise, we are optimistic that based off the report’s recommendations, Canadians can look forward to the easement of onerous border measures. WestJet will continue to advocate for policy changes that support Canada’s recovery and the restoration of more than 750,000 travel and tourism industry jobs.

WestJet remains committed to building back even stronger for the betterment of all Canadians. A healthy WestJet will help lead a stronger recovery, increasing competition and consumer choice while lowering the cost of travel for Canadians, all while safely anchoring Canada’s vital air travel and tourism sectors. 

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

WestJet Statement on Canada’s Border Measures Report

CALGARY, AB, May 27, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet welcomes the findings outlined by the Health Canada Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel in the Border Measures Report released today and thanks the panel for their efforts in bringing forward this report.

“Over the past 15 months, WestJet has been requesting science-based travel guidance and this report represents a responsible path forward,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “These findings are evidence-based recommendations that are proportionate and reduce risks. We ask that the government immediately prepare a safe restart plan based on this report and current global policies. With vaccinations ramping up, Canadians need to know they can travel once again.”

Outlined in the report and demonstrated successfully by the Alberta Testing Pilot Program, YVR’s Pre-Departure Testing Program and the McMaster Study, programs in which WestJet was an active participant, the relationship between testing and quarantine can safely evolve based on science, data and vaccination levels.

As vaccination rates continue to rise, we are optimistic that based off the report’s recommendations, Canadians can look forward to the easement of onerous border measures. WestJet will continue to advocate for policy changes that support Canada’s recovery and the restoration of more than 750,000 travel and tourism industry jobs.

WestJet remains committed to building back even stronger for the betterment of all Canadians. A healthy WestJet will help lead a stronger recovery, increasing competition and consumer choice while lowering the cost of travel for Canadians, all while safely anchoring Canada’s vital air travel and tourism sectors. 

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

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Recent recognition includes: 
2020/2019 Number-One Ranked Canadian Airline Loyalty Program in Member Engagement (Bond Brand Loyalty)
2019/2018/2017 Best Airline in Canada (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines) 
2019 Winner Among Mid-Sized Airlines in North America (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines) 
2019/2018 Number-One-Ranked Airline Credit Card in Canada (Rewards Canada)