Tag: WestJet

Shortened Penticton airport runway prompting flight delays and cancellations

News provided by Global News – link to full story and updates

BY SHELBY THOM GLOBAL NEWS October 6, 2019

Flights are being cancelled or delayed at Penticton Regional Airport (YYF) after Transport Canada ordered the shortening of the runway due to an obstruction.
 Flights are being cancelled or delayed at Penticton Regional Airport (YYF) after Transport Canada ordered the shortening of the runway due to an obstruction. WestJet

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At least two Westjet flights have been unable to land at Penticton Regional Airport (YYF) in the past week, and it appears a temporarily shortened landing strip is to blame.

A Westjet spokesperson said an inbound flight from Calgary International Airport (YYC) was forced to return to Alberta last Saturday. It was unable to land due to the ceiling being “below operating limits,” according to media relations advisor Morgan Bell.

Passengers on flight 3267 from YYC to YYF on Oct. 3 also experienced a disruption in their flight plans as the plane was diverted to Kelowna, B.C., under similar circumstances.

Melody Walker said the diversion meant her brother’s Friday morning flight to Calgary was cancelled. He missed his connection to Ottawa and was delayed by three-and-a-half hours.

Walker said the airline classified the flight cancellation as “weather-related” and therefore her brother was not offered upgrades or financial remuneration for the inconvenience.

However, Walker said when she discussed the flight cancellation with the Westjet manager on duty at YYF, she was informed the flight diversion was due to the shortened runway impacting navigation equipment procedures.

“Tourists, local and regional residents of this area deserve to know the increased risk they incur if they currently book a flight to fly in or out of Penticton,” she said in an email to Global News.

Transport Canada issued a “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAM) posted to the Nav Canada website to alert pilots to the shortened runway at YYF by about 470 feet due to an obstacle.

Nav Canada is a private corporation that owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation system (ANS). Spokesperson Rebecca Hickey said the notice is in place from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25.

The federal agency said the obstacle is the exhaust system at the nearby Greenwood Forest Products sawmill.

The exhaust system has reportedly been in place for several years but was flagged during a recent audit of the airport. YYF is owned and operated by Transport Canada.

Westjet said the shortened runway is impacting specific navigational aids for some flights that arrive at night and during periods of poor weather.

If the weather is not clear enough to allow the pilot to visually see where the aircraft is going, pilots are required to use instrument flight rules to operate the aircraft.

In aviation, an instrument approach is a series of predetermined maneuvers for the transfer of an aircraft under instrument flight conditions from the beginning of the initial approach to a landing.

“The Penticton airport was required to remove the only instrument approach that allows us to land straight in,” Bell said.

“A straight in approach allows the pilots to transition from using the flight instruments to visually identifying the runway and then landing straight ahead,” she added.

“Although there are other instrument approaches in Penticton, those approaches require us to maneuver or circle in the valley which we are unable to do in poor weather or at night for safety reasons.”

Bell said the approach was removed and the runway shortened as a result of a Transport Canada Process Inspection completed early this summer.

It is unclear when and how the obstruction issue will be addressed and the full runway reinstated to 6,000 feet.

Jazz, the operator of Air Canada Express service to Penticton, said the NOTAM could also impact its operations.

“Safety is our top priority and we only operate where and when it is safe to do so,” it said in a statement.

Global Okanagan has reached out to Transport Canada for further comment.© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Tim Croyle to retire from WestJet

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership/CNW

CALGARY, Oct. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – Today WestJet announced that Tim Croyle, Vice-President, WestJet Vacations and Cargo has decided to retire.

“The decision has been made with careful consideration and with mixed emotions,” said Croyle. “I would like to thank all of WestJet’s travel trade, hotel and destination partners for the support and loyalty they have shown for more than a decade. I look forward to watching the great things that WestJet’s global aspirations will bring to Canada and the world.”

Tim Croyle to retire from WestJet (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
Tim Croyle to retire from WestJet (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

Tim joined WestJet in 2003, as Manager-Airports Projects holding a variety of roles before moving to WestJet Vacations in 2010 where he built a solid foundation for the business and was subsequently promoted to Vice-President, WestJet Vacations.

In March of 2018, Tim stepped in to the Interim Executive Vice-President, Commercial role, leading the launch of WestJet’s 787 Dreamliner. Most recently, he assumed responsibility of WestJet Cargo team and its in-house transition.

Tim’s last day with WestJet will be October 31, 2019.

The company will begin the process of conducting a search for Vice-President, WestJet Vacations shortly. With Tim’s retirement, WestJet Cargo will be moved under Charles Duncan, Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer.

Canadian air carriers inspect Boeing aircraft for cracks after FAA directive

News provided by CTV News – link to full story – with a hint from P.N.

FAA directive

Westjet Boeing
A Westjet Boeing 737-700 taxis to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on Monday February 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Canadian Press, Thursday, October 3, 2019

CALGARY – WestJet Airlines, Sunwing Vacations Inc. and Transat A.T. said Thursday they were examining their fleets of Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft for cracks after a U.S. regulator ordered the inspections.

Calgary-based WestJet says it has 43 aircraft that fall under an inspection directive issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The company says it has had no structural cracks in its 737 NG fleet and expects minimal disruptions from the inspections.

Sunwing Vacations Inc. said it had received the directive from the FAA and will be inspecting its fleet as appropriate but didn’t expect any disruptions to its schedule.

The company did not say how many of its planes require inspection, but it has more than 40 of the Boeing 737 NG aircraft in its fleet.

Air Transat said it has five 737 NG planes in its fleet plus a temporary one. It said two of the planes would require a visual inspection that would take about an hour, but none of its planes have flown enough to require a more extensive check.

Air Canada says it does not have any of the Boeing 737 NG planes.

The FAA said that if the cracking was not addressed it could lead to a loss of control of the airplane.

The inspection order comes as Boeing remains under scrutiny after two deadly crashes led to a grounding of its Boeing 737 Max aircraft in March.

The crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed a total of 346 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

WestJet announced in September that it was removing 737 Max jets from its holiday schedule while Air Canada warned the impact of the grounded jet on its operations may ripple well into 2021.

Sunwing said in August that its four Maxes will be absent from the rotation until mid-May, with some 3,000 flights having been affected over the summer alone.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2019.

WestJet warns public of phishing email scam

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership/CNW

CALGARY, Oct. 4, 2019 /CNW/ – WestJet today is warning the public of a new email scam using the WestJet Rewards name and brand likeness to get recipients to sign in or risk having their WestJet Rewards account deactivated.

Example of scam email (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
Example of scam email (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

“WestJet urges the public to be aware of unsolicited or spoofed emails from WestJet Rewards,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s Vice-President Marketing Communications. “The scammers are using the trusted WestJet name to create alarm around account deactivation in a fraudulent attempt to steal personal information. Please do not follow the instructions. These spoofed emails are not being sent by WestJet or on behalf of WestJet and we have alerted RCMP Canadian Anti-Fraud authorities and urge anyone with concerns to do so as well.”

An image of the scam email is attached, and the airline has highlighted typos and grammar errors, a common red flag in phishing emails.

WestJet has more information posted on its advisories page under ‘scams’ available online: https://www.westjet.com/en-ca/travel-info/advisories

For anyone who believes they may be a victim, please contact the WestJet call centre at 1-888-WestJet and the RCMP Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website http://www.antifraudcentre.ca/ for more information and to report details.

WestJet’s flagship lounge in Calgary, a home within our home

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership/CNW

Construction begins on new space that will give top-tier WestJet Rewards members and select partner members a refined environment to work and rejuvenate

CALGARY, Oct. 3, 2019 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced that work has begun on its first proprietary flagship lounge at the Calgary International Airport (YYC).

As the airline with the most departures, destinations and seats from Calgary, the construction of the lounge underscores WestJet’s ongoing commitment to growing its premium presence and guest experience.

WestJet's flagship lounge in Calgary will give top-tier WestJet Rewards members and select partner members a refined environment to work and rejuvenate. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
WestJet’s flagship lounge in Calgary will give top-tier WestJet Rewards members and select partner members a refined environment to work and rejuvenate. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

“As WestJet continues its accelerated journey to becoming a global network carrier our new flagship lounge in Calgary will give top-tier WestJet Rewards members, Business cabin guests and select partner travellers a home within our home in Calgary,” said d’Arcy Monaghan, WestJet’s Vice-President, Loyalty. “This lounge will showcase WestJet’s award-winning hospitality, refined style, elevated products and premium experience our guests have been enjoying with the launch of our new Dreamliner.”

Working in partnership with the Calgary Airport Authority, WestJet’s new lounge will be located near Concourse B to conveniently serve guests travelling from Concourses A and B in the Domestic Terminal, and from Concourse D in the International Terminal.

“Whether guests are starting a journey, or connecting, this premium lounge will elevate their experience,” said Rob Palmer, CFO and Vice-President, The Calgary Airport Authority. “YYC is already proud to be home to WestJet, its Dreamliner hub, and now we’re excited to welcome this flagship lounge at our airport. Congratulations to WestJet.”

Designed in partnership with Gensler, world-class design and architectural firm, the lounge will seamlessly blend contemporary interior design with refined mountain living. This custom Canadian-inspired space brings together exceptional local food and beverage, along with business amenities designed to keep travellers connected. Once complete, it will be a place for guests to work, relax, rejuvenate and collaborate in comfort and style, reflective of WestJet’s ongoing premiumization of its Boeing fleet and award-winning hospitality and service.

WestJet flagship lounge is scheduled to open in late summer 2020. Platinum, Gold and Silver WestJet Rewards members with complimentary lounge access benefits, along with guests travelling in the Business cabin, will be among the first to enjoy the new space.

More details on the lounge will be released in the coming months.

WestJet brings pink to the skies in support of a future without breast cancer

WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership Press Release

Airline has raised more than $500,000 for breast cancer research and programs since 2013

CALGARY, Oct. 1, 2019 /CNW/ – As the official airline of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and its CIBC Run for the Cure, WestJet and more than 14,000 WestJetters are proud to announce this year’s initiatives in support of changing the future of breast cancer during the month of October.

For the month of October, new pink aprons have been made available to WestJetters along with custom-designed pink neckwear, hats and personality pins that see 100 per cent of the purchase price going to the Canadian Cancer Society breast cancer cause. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
For the month of October, new pink aprons have been made available to WestJetters along with custom-designed pink neckwear, hats and personality pins that see 100 per cent of the purchase price going to the Canadian Cancer Society breast cancer cause. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

Guests flying with WestJet will notice even more pink in the skies and on the ground this year with updates to WestJetters’ uniforms for the fourth consecutive year. This month, new pink aprons have been made available to WestJetters along with custom-designed pink neckwear, hats and personality pins that see 100 per cent of the purchase price going to the Canadian Cancer Society breast cancer cause.

“WestJet and WestJetters are committed to making breast cancer beatable and for the seventh consecutive year we’re joining alongside a collective of Canadians to raise awareness and funds throughout the month of October,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President Marketing Communications. “Since 2013, through WestJetters’ dedication and fundraising, we’ve been able to raise over $500,000 in support of a future without breast cancer. We’re inspired to wear pink and raise funds in support of research, education and awareness programs.”

As a committed partner of CCS and the official airline of their CIBC Run for the Cure for the seventh consecutive year, on Oct. 6, over 30 teams featuring close to 500 WestJetters and their networks will come together to participate at 57 locations across Canada.

“Friends, families, children and spouses, coworkers, neighbours and strangers, those who have fought and won, those in our memories, and those who are just finding out what it means to fight: you are not ever alone. Pink is hope, pink is strength and, most importantly, pink is the colour that binds us together,” said Stephanie Ciarrocco, WestJet Customer Service Agent and breast cancer survivor.

“The CIBC Run for the Cure unites a collective of Canadians who are a force-for-life in the face of breast cancer,” says Andrea Seale, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. “With the support of that collective and our dedicated partners like WestJet, we fund the best breast cancer research and provide the largest cancer support system in the country. We are incredibly thankful to WestJet for their ongoing commitment to the breast cancer cause.”

WestJet provides the Canadian Cancer Society the gift of flight, helping the organization reduce administration expenses, as well as encourages WestJetter fundraising and participation in the CIBC Run for the Cure.

More woes for Boeing 737 as cracks discovered on some planes

News provided by CBC News – link to full story and updates

U.S. FAA is requiring some operators to inspect their aircraft and report back

Thomson Reuters · Posted: Sep 28, 2019 | Last Updated: September 28

One of WestJet’s many 737-800 aircraft sits at a gate at Saskatoon International Airport. Manufacturer Boeing says a small number of the same generation of plane has exhibited structural cracking. (Albert Couillard/CBC)

More bad news for Boeing’s 737 line of aircraft: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said late Friday it will require operators of some 737 NG jetliners to conduct inspections for structural cracks and make repairs as needed following the discovery of cracks on a small number of planes.

The FAA said Boeing notified it of the issue “after it discovered the cracks while conducting modifications on a heavily used aircraft.” Subsequent inspections “uncovered similar cracks in a small number of additional planes.” Boeing said on Friday it has been in contact with 737 NG operators about a cracking issue, but added that “no in-service issues have been reported.”

Neither the FAA nor Boeing immediately said how many planes were impacted by the required inspections.

The 737 NG, or Next Generation, was introduced in 1997 and is the third-generation version of the best-selling Boeing airplane. It includes the 737-600, -700, -800 and -900 models and is operated in Canada by WestJet and Air Transat but not Air Canada. There was no immediate indication that either airline’s fleets were affected.

Its successor is the 737 MAX series, which was grounded in March after two fatal crashes in five months, but which is not affected by this issue, Boeing said.

The FAA said it would ask operators of the NG to “report their findings to the agency immediately” after completing inspections. Boeing said “over the coming days, we will work closely with our customers to implement a recommended inspection plan for certain airplanes in the fleet.”

KOMO News reported on Friday the issue involved cracked “pickle forks” in some 737 NG jets. The pickle fork attaches the plane’s fuselage, or body, to the wing structure and manages forces. A failure of the part in flight could pose a serious risk. KOMO said workers found a severely cracked pickle fork on a Boeing 737NG earlier this month.

Transport Canada had not issued an online civil aviation safety alert about the issue as of early Saturday morning. 

With files from CBC News

WestJet Cargo to temporarily embargo lithium battery shipments

News provided by Air Cargo News – link to full story

26 September 2019

Canada-based airline WestJet has placed a temporary embargo on all shipments containing lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries until further notice.

The airline said the embargo includes UN 3481 and UN3090 for both restricted and unrestricted batteries packed with or contained in equipment.

“No further bookings will be taken for lithium-ion or lithium-metal battery shipments until the embargo has ended,” a notice read.

The airline told Air Cargo News that the move was due to its cargo team recently moving in-house.

“This transition has enabled us to have greater visibility and control over our operations,” a spokesperson said. “As safety is always our top priority, we’re in the process of conducting a thorough review of our processes and products to ensure the continued safe operation of our aircraft. A temporary embargo on lithium batteries has been implemented until we finalise and implement any necessary updates to our processes or procedures.”

Lithium batteries have been in the headlines of late. Last week, Lufthansa Cargo placed a temporary embargo on a shipper and forwarder, which was lifted after a few days.

WestJet compensates Edmonton couple $1,800 under new air passenger rights

Provided by CTV News – link to full story and updates

westjet
The tail of a WestJet plane is seen before the airline’s annual meeting in Calgary, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Mariam Matti, CTVNews.ca Staff with a report from CTV News’ Molly Thomas Published Sunday, September 22, 2019

An Edmonton couple who missed the first day of their honeymoon due to a WestJet flight change finally received compensation from the airline.

An Edmonton couple were forced to file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) under the passenger bill of rights after they were denied boarding on a WestJet flight to their honeymoon destination in July.

Chelsea Williamson said she and her husband were checked in to their flight and at the gate when WestJet informed the couple an aircraft change would mean they could not get on their original flight to Italy. They were placed on another flight hours later and missed the first day of their honeymoon.

After several weeks of back and forth with the airline, the newlyweds were offered WestJet travel vouchers.

Under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, passengers who are denied boarding are entitled to $900 for a delay less than six hours.

Williamson ended up filling an official complaint with the CTA.

“If the airlines weren’t following the rules with us, does that mean they aren’t following the rules with other people?” she told CTV News Edmonton.

WestJet offered the couple $900 each in compensation along with an apology.

“Guest care is central to our brand and fundamental to our business and following an internal investigation, we recognized that we failed to meet our obligations to these guests,” the company said in a statement. WestJet added that a tight timeline to implement the new regulations has been a challenge.

“By WestJet coming forward and saying we were denied boarding, it may set some precedent,” Williamson said.

On Aug. 16, the CTA launched an inquiry to “examine whether the terms of WestJet’s dealing with schedule changes and irregularities are just and reasonable, taking into account the requirement for airlines to respect the minimum obligations towards passengers set out in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations,” according to their website.

The agency has received 1,770 complaints in a two-month period, including passengers who have been denied boarding or had luggage problems. In 2018, the CTA received about 1,000 complaints in the same time period.

Gabor Lukacs, air passenger rights advocate, warns that not every passenger will receive compensation for their complaint.

“In no way should passengers conclude that this means the new rules are working. They are not,” he told CTV News. “This case is a victory of the court of public opinion and of public pressure.”

WestJet expects 737 Max software certification next month, planes to remain grounded

News provided by BNN Bloomberg – link to video and full story, plus updates

20 September 2019 by Paige Ellis, BNN Bloomberg

WATCH: Video

WestJet Airlines Ltd. says Boeing Co. has completed a critical software update to its troubled 737 Max jets, although the carrier still doesn’t know when the grounded aircraft will return to service, according to an internal email obtained by BNN Bloomberg.

“Boeing has now finalized Flight Control Computer software version 12.1.2 which is slated for certification next month,” wrote Scott Wilson, WestJet’s vice-president of flight operations, in the email. 

“As we enter the seventh month of the airspace closure restricting Max operations, we are beginning to gain enough clarity to start providing information that doesn’t change on us a week later,” he added. 

WestJet, like Air Canada, recently scrubbed the Max from its holiday schedule. The company operates 13 of Boeing’s Max aircraft. 

The grounding of the jets, which were banned from Canadian airspace in the wake of two deadly crashes, were cited by Statistics Canada this week as the chief source of a whopping 10 per cent year-over-year increase in airfares in August.

Wilson also stated in the email that the airline’s management doesn’t know when the 737 Max planes will be cleared to fly by regulators. 

“It is the actual path back to service that has more indefinite timelines and regulatory complications,” Wilson wrote. 

He added federal regulators are “aligned” on the changes Boeing needs to incorporate into the aircraft to prevent further accidents from happening.

However, WestJet will send a team to Boeing’s training facility in Miami next week to test the new software update “to experience the operating characteristics” during a flight simulation, Wilson said. 

In a July interview with BNN Bloomberg, WestJet CEO Ed Sims said the grounding has had a “very significant impact” on the airline’s operations. 

But he insisted he is still confident in Boeing. 

“I believe in the MAX, I believe in the reliability of Boeing,” he said at the time. “I have very strong confidence that they will move beyond those issues.”