Tag: WestJet

Passenger traffic up at Charlottetown Airport, cruise ship traffic down

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

‘We were certainly expecting to see numbers up for the summer months,’ says airport CEO

By Sam Juric · CBC News · Posted: Aug 22, 2019

The last few summers have seen “really strong” numbers, says Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Charlottetown Airport saw a boost in passenger traffic for July, up by 7.2 per cent from last year — positively impacting overall tourism numbers for the Island in July. 

In February, the airport announced significant increases in seat capacity with both Air Canada and WestJet for the summer months. 

The increase in seats is likely one of the major reasons for the bump in passenger traffic, said Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority.  

“Really what’s happened in July is that that increased capacity has resulted in more opportunities to fly direct to Charlottetown and we’re pleased to see passenger traffic up,” Newson said. 

The last few summers have seen “really strong” numbers, he said. 

‘Traffic seems busy’

“We were pleased to see that additional capacity added to the market and we were certainly expecting to see numbers up for the summer months,” Newson said. 

While the airport authority does not yet have a specific breakdown of the numbers, he said, more detailed data will be available in the coming months. 

We are optimistic that we will see increases right throughout the rest of the year— Doug Newson, CEO, Charlottetown Airport Authority

“We are seeing a significant amount of extra seats in August as well and traffic seems busy. We don’t get the results until the end of the month obviously, but August will be very strong. It will probably be a record month for the airport authority,” he said. 

Officials at Tourism P.E.I. believe campaigns to the Ontario and international markets are also having an impact on air traffic.

“Collectively with our federal and Atlantic Canadian counterparts, we market Atlantic Canada and Prince Edward Island to international markets in the United States and abroad,” said Kent MacDonald, CEO of Tourism P.E.I. 

“And then we have our own domestic campaigns that run specifically in Ontario, that are helping boost the air traffic as well.” 

Though cruise ship traffic was down 31 per cent for July compared to July 2018, Port Charlottetown officials say numbers were up in June. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

When it comes to air traffic the fall numbers are also looking positive, Newson said, while they may not be quite as high as the summer months.

“But we are optimistic that we will see increases right throughout the rest of the year,” he said.  

Cruise ship traffic

While air traffic has had a positive effect on the Island’s overall tourism figures, not all the summer’s numbers have been positive. 

Cruise ship traffic saw a dip, down by 31 per cent in July compared to July 2018.

The monthly reporting is always tricky to compare year over year because a ship or two can shift by a few days putting them into other months, Port Charlottetown officials said. 

They note that while July’s numbers weren’t strong, June numbers were up. They also anticipate that August will see positive numbers — with the fall expected to be their busiest yet. 

Port Charlottetown officials said last year there were around 98,000 cruise ship passengers.

The projected overall number for this season is nearly 150,000.

With files from Angela Walker

Hey Honduras! WestJet welcomes Roatán to its network

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership

Airline brings snorkelling and diving paradise to its guests this winter from Toronto

CALGARY, Aug. 22, 2019 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced it will be adding Roatán, Honduras to its Caribbeandestinations with its new non-stop seasonal service from Toronto starting December 15.

WestJet today announced it will be adding Roatán, Honduras to its Caribbean destinations with its new non-stop seasonal service from Toronto starting December 15. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
WestJet today announced it will be adding Roatán, Honduras to its Caribbean destinations with its new non-stop seasonal service from Toronto starting December 15. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

“With the addition of the snorkelling paradise of Roatán to our network, WestJet guests now have convenient access to 14 Caribbean destinations non-stop from Toronto this winter,” said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Roatán is home to miles of coastline featuring barrier reefs, white sand beaches and turquoise waters and is a bucket list getaway that we can’t wait for our guests to explore starting this December.”

“We congratulate WestJet on this new service to the beautiful island of Roatán,” said Scott Collier, Vice President of Customer and Terminal Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA). “Toronto Pearson is proud to be a part of WestJet’s continued growth and we are sure our passengers will be excited to discover this part of the world, thanks to WestJet.”

“We at the Bay Islands Tourism Bureau are so happy to know WestJet will be servicing Roatán as we love to see our friends from the north visit and look forward to working with the premier Canadian airline,” said Mike Carter, Vice-President, Bay Islands Tourism Bureau. “From the beginning of our talks, all the way through the process, the cooperation and communication from all involved has been amazing.  A special thanks to our political and business stakeholders and the entire WestJet team as we have the foundation of a great partnership for growth and service.”

The new service will be operated on WestJet’s Boeing 737 aircraft featuring the airline’s Premium and Economy cabins. Flights are timed to optimize connectivity to WestJet’s Toronto hub and provide for WestJet Rewards accumulation and redemption along with additional benefits for WestJet Rewards top tier members.

Details of WestJet’s service between Toronto and Roatán:

RouteFrequencyDepartingArrivingEffective
Toronto-
Roatán*
Once weekly9:30 a.m.1:11 p.m.December 15, 
2019
Roatán- 
Toronto*
Once weekly2:10 p.m.7:27 p.m.December 15, 
2019

*Subject to government approval

For more information on new routes and increased frequencies in WestJet’s 2019/2020 winter schedule, please visit westjet.com/flight-schedules-new.

Additional Quotes:
“We are very excited to welcome WestJet to our airline family. Canadian travellers are discovering Roatán and are some of our most dedicated repeat guests. There is also a large expat community of Canadians that live on the island either full or part-time. So, WestJet passengers, Welcome, Bienvenido, Bienvenu, Benvenuto, to our home,” said Syntia Solomon, President Bay Islands Tourism Bureau, Mayor Jerry Hynds, Governor Dino Silvestri, and Congressman Ron McNab.

Bored at the Winnipeg airport? Volunteer to check in a rescue dog and play with it for free

News provided by Toronto Sun – link to full story and updates

Toronto Sun Published: August 17, 2019

Karen George holds up a puppy. George organizes transportation of dogs from northern communities and is need of volunteers flying from Ottawa to Winnipeg. The volunteers are able to play with the dogs at the Winnipeg airport and George covers the cost of checking the animals. PNimg

If you ever fly on WestJet from Winnipeg to Ottawa and love playing with dogs, you’re in luck.

Karen George organizes a weekly rescue mission of dogs from northern Manitoba to Ottawa and is in need of volunteers to check these dogs, all expenses paid.

The benefit for the traveller, other than the satisfaction of helping stray dogs, is that they can play with each dog in Winnipeg before their flight takes off.

George has several partner organizations, but she is a one-woman show with transportation planning.

“I’m not an organization, I’m just one crazy lady,” she said. “It’s just me and the dogs, and they don’t really do anything. They just kind of reassign everything back to me.”

George says she focuses on northern Manitoba because many communities there organize dog culls, which she understands.

“When they start packing up, (the dogs) become dangerous,” she said.

The rescued dogs are flown from these northern communities to Winnipeg, where they are vetted, spayed or neutered and given all required shots.

“Don’t want to spread any diseases on the plane,” she said.

Once they’re in Winnipeg, George plans how the dogs will be transported to Ottawa, which involves recruiting volunteers with previously booked Westjet flights. George will then add several dogs to their boarding passes.

She said she preferred WestJet because the cargo holds of its planes had temperature controls, so they could take dogs year round, but she will use Air Canada for the same purpose if need to be.

George began her mission in 2017, when she discovered two stray German shepherd puppies in need of rescue in the northern Manitoba community of Red Sucker Lake. She said she learned about the transportation process involved and established a network of connections. Later, she decided to continue rescuing other strays.

George said she brought 150 dogs from northern areas in 2018 and in 2019 will have brought over 80 dogs by Saturday.

Once in Ottawa volunteers will pick up the dogs and George works with the Freedom Dog Rescue who help ensure they end up in various shelters across Ontario.

George said there are dogs flown in weekly so she is always in need of volunteers. Anyone arriving in Ottawa from Winnipeg who is interested in flying with — and playing with a dog can message her on  Facebook.

Canada’s two biggest airlines taking different tacks with grounded 737 Max aircraft

News provided by The Globe and Mail – link to full story and updates

CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, MONTREAL, THE CANADIAN PRESS
PUBLISHED AUGUST 16, 2019

Air Canada is looking at sending its two-dozen Max 8s to the desert, where the hot, dry conditions keep corrosion by rain, snow, sleet and ice at bay.
GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada’s two biggest airlines are taking different tacks to stow their Boeing 737 Max 8s as the aircraft’s drawn-out grounding continues to cause turbulence in the flight industry.

Air Canada is looking at sending its two-dozen Max 8s to the desert, where the hot, dry conditions keep corrosion by rain, snow, sleet and ice at bay.

“Given the uncertainty about the timing of regulatory approvals for the return to service of the Boeing 737 Max, we continue to update our plans, including caring for the 737 Max aircraft in our fleet. One option being considered is relocating aircraft to the desert,” said Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah, citing the optimal climate.

Most North American desert storage locations sit in the southern United States, such as California’s Mojave Desert, where Southwest Airlines Co. has parked its 34 Maxes for the time being.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. has no plans to move its 13 Max 8s south of the border. The planes – which it has scrubbed from its schedule until November, shrinking total seat capacity by about 10 per cent – are sitting in its Canadian hangars, where they receive regular maintenance checks and have their engines run once a week, a spokesperson said.

The contingency arrangements add another wrinkle to the plans of airlines blown off course by the Max 8 grounding, prompted after two crashes in October and March that killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians.

Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu said last month it will feel the grounding “acutely” this summer, as its passenger capacity declines and costs for less fuel-efficient replacement planes mount. The 24 Max 8s comprise about 20 per cent of Air Canada’s narrow-body fleet and would typically carry about 11,000 passengers a day.

WestJet chief executive Ed Sims told The Canadian Press in a recent interview the loss of the short-to-medium-range jetliner has had a “substantial negative impact” on the airline, forcing it to cut certain routes and ramp up fuel spending.

Sunwing Airlines Inc., which has four Max 8s, said the grounding has affected some 3,000 flights over the summer and forced the airline to contract third-party carriers. Max 8s will be absent from its rotation until at least mid-May 2020, a spokesperson said Friday.

Robert Kokonis, president of Toronto-based consulting firm AirTrav Inc., highlighted the cost and inconvenience of moving aircraft into far-flung storage facilities.

“You’re going to have to fly it down there – a ferry flight 1/8 no passengers 3/8 one way. You’re going to have to pay the air park to prep and store the aircraft. And then when it’s ready to be brought back into service, you’ve got to send a team down and get it ready to fly again, with a ferry flight back up to home base,” he said.

Transportation watchdog investigating WestJet after customer complaint

News provided by The Globe and Mail – link to full story and updates

OTTAWA THE CANADIAN PRESS, PUBLISHED AUGUST 16, 2019

WestJet signage is pictured at Vancouver’s international airport in Richmond, B.C. on Feb. 5, 2019. BEN NELMS/REUTERS

Canada’s transportation watchdog is launching an inquiry into how WestJet Airlines Ltd. handles its passengers during schedule changes after an incident last month saw travellers bumped without compensation.

The Canadian Transportation Agency says the probe into WestJet’s tariff – its contract with customers – follows a complaint after a Canadian couple en route to Italy were bumped from their flight out of Edmonton.

According to media reports, WestJet told the pair they were not entitled to compensation because the incident amounted to a “flight delay” rather than a “denial of boarding.”

Under Canada’s passenger bill of rights – partly implemented on July 15, a week before the flight – airlines have no obligation to pay customers for delays or cancellations considered out of its control. Delays within its control may not require compensation until Dec. 15, when the second phase of regulations comes into force.

Passenger-rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says the incident underscores loopholes in the new rights regime – maybe more so than WestJet’s tariff – adding that it is unfortunate it took a media report to prompt the inquiry.

The agency says it has directed WestJet to provide information and will decide on next steps after it is received.

Canadian Transportation Agency launches inquiry into WestJet flight incident

Provided by Canadian Transportation Agency/CNW

GATINEAU, QC, Aug. 16, 2019 /CNW/ – The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is launching an inquiry to examine whether the terms of WestJet’s tariff 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 (APPR).

This step follows receipt of a complaint concerning a July 22, 2019 incident — which was also the subject of a media report — involving changes to passenger itineraries. The information in the complaint and report raises the possibility that WestJet’s tariff is being interpreted and applied in a manner inconsistent with the denied boarding provisions of the APPR.

The complaint itself will be treated separately from this inquiry. The CTA has a range of dispute resolution services – from informal facilitation, through mediation, to adjudication – to assist air passengers and airlines when they have a dispute that cannot be resolved directly between them.

With the launch of the inquiry, WestJet has been directed to provide certain information to the CTA. Once that information is received, the CTA will decide on next steps.

Quote                               

“The Air Passenger Protection Regulations set out the minimum obligations airlines have towards passengers in a number of areas. It’s important that the wording and application of airline tariffs be consistent with those protections – and that, to the greatest extent possible, airlines and passengers have a common understanding on what’s required in different situations. This inquiry will help achieve that clarity.”

Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency

WestJet Bumping Incident Raises Fears New Air Passenger Rules Are Toothless

News provided by Huffington Post – link to full story and updates

13 August 2019 By Daniel Tencer, HuffingtonPost.ca

“The new rules are taking away protection that passengers previously enjoyed.”

A view of WestJet planes at Calgary International Airport, Mon. Sept. 10,
A view of WestJet planes at Calgary International Airport, Mon. Sept. 10, 2018.

Chelsea Williamson isn’t happy with Canada’s new air passenger bill of rights

When WestJet bumped her and her husband from a flight out of Edmonton last month after swapping in a smaller airplane, the move effectively cost the newlywed couple a day of sightseeing in Venice.

“You go all that way to a place you may not ever be able to return to ― and you are unable to see what you went all that way for because you were at the bottom of your airline’s priority list,” Williamson wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada.

But it’s what happened when Williamson asked for compensation that has air passenger advocates worried. The airline rejected Williamson’s claim, on the grounds that what happened was a “flight delay” and not a “denial of boarding.”

Watch: Canada’s airline industry is undergoing rapid change, not all of it good for passengers. Story continues below.

Because of the wording of the new air passenger regulations, airlines can skirt the compensation fees that passengers are owed when they’re bumped from flights, said Gabor Lukacs, the head of Air Passenger Rights Canada, and they will instead be on the hook for much lower flight delay payments.

“This case demonstrates that the new rules are taking away protection that passengers previously enjoyed ― exactly as we forewarned the government in our submissions,” Lukacs wrote in an email.

In this case, WestJet did a “tail swap” on the July 22 flight from Edmonton to Toronto, the first leg of the couple’s honeymoon trip. Williamson said WestJet staff informed her the new airplane had 40 fewer seats than the previously scheduled one.

When the couple arrived at the gate to start their honeymoon, they were informed that they had been switched to another flight, leaving five hours later. They had checked in through AirMiles the day before, and though WestJet made the change after check-in, Williamson said they were never informed.

AirMiles and WestJet now appear to be playing the blame game, with AirMiles saying it was never told of the change, and WestJet saying AirMiles didn’t give them contact info for the passengers.

Under Canada’s new passenger rights rules, parts of which went into force on July 15, being bumped from a flight because there is not enough space would entitle Williamson and her husband to $900 each in compensation. That’s the rate if the boarding denial causes a delay of less than six hours, which was the case.

The main terminal at Edmonton International Airport, July 1,
The main terminal at Edmonton International Airport, July 1, 2013.

But WestJet told Williamson that this doesn’t constitute denial of boarding, despite the plane not having enough seats. That’s because they changed the booking beforehand, so technically, the couple didn’t have a confirmed reservation for the flight.

“The fact that we had valid boarding passes/tickets that enabled us to make our way through security and to the gate to attempt boarding does not seem to matter,” Williamson quipped.

Under Canada’s new rules, “denial of boarding” happens when the number of seats on a plane is “less than the number of passengers who have checked in by the required time (and) hold a confirmed reservation.”

It looks like it is not WestJet who is at fault, but rather the wording of the new rules.Gabor Lukacs, Air Passenger Rights Canada

“WestJet is going to argue that at the time these passengers were at the gate, they no longer had a confirmed reservation, because their reservation had been changed a few hours earlier,” Lukacs wrote.

“So, it looks like it is not WestJet who is at fault, but rather the wording of the new rules. Before the new rules came into force, the (Canadian Transportation Agency) recognized situations like this as de facto or constructive denied boarding.”

Under the new rules for flight delays, the couple would still be eligible for $400 each in compensation ― but that part of the regulations doesn’t come into force until December.

New tricks to evade passenger rights

In talking with passengers who are members of the Air Passenger Rights Facebook group, Lukacs said he sees evidence of airlines launching new tricks to avoid responsibility under the passenger rights rules.

Airlines are “nominally cancelling (a) flight, and then creating a flight at the same time, with a different flight number, and fewer passengers on it,” Lukacs wrote.

“In one case, as I recall, when the passenger pressed the airline, they eventually paid the denied boarding compensation ― but only after it was discussed in the group.”

For its part, WestJet offered Williamson and her husband, Sean Fitzpatrick, $125 each in “WestJet dollars” ― money that can only be used to pay for flights on WestJet. Williamson maintains she is owed the full compensation for denial of boarding.

A WestJet Boeing 737 unloading at a gate in Edmonton, Oct. 18,
A WestJet Boeing 737 unloading at a gate in Edmonton, Oct. 18, 2015.

WestJet did not answer specific questions about its compensation policies, but told HuffPost in an emailed statement that the airline “does not intentionally overbook or oversell its flights. 

“Unfortunately in certain circumstances, we can find ourselves in an overbook situation, when we may need to switch to a smaller aircraft for operational reasons or there may be (a) mechanical issue with a seat and we need to re-accommodate a guest.”

Williamson said she would like to see airlines change their rules so that a passenger can’t have their seat assignment changed after check-in, without the airline first speaking to that passenger.

She said staff told her the airline never asked for volunteers before bumping passengers involuntarily, a practice WestJet lays out in its tariff.

“I do not feel WestJet even followed their own policies in our specific situation,” Williamson wrote.

WestJet flight bound for Toronto returned to Calgary after hitting bird

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

13 August 2019 By Heide Pearson, Online Journalist,  Global News

A WestJet plane takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Vancouver on Monday, May 13, 2019.
A WestJet plane takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Vancouver on Monday, May 13, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

An airplane and its 165 passengers were forced to turn back to Calgary on Tuesday afternoon after the plane hit a bird.

According to WestJet, flight WS660 bound for Toronto struck a bird when taking off and as a precaution, turned around landed back in Calgary. Emergency vehicles were also called as a precaution, WestJet said.

The plane was taken out of service for a maintenance inspection and the passengers were brought back to the gate to await a different flight. There were no injuries reported and the plane had a safe landing.

It’s expected the passengers will be departing at 2:30 p.m., spokesperson Morgan Bell said, making for about a five-hour delay.

Bell said the maintenance inspection is routine after a bird strike, adding that a bird can do considerable damage to an aircraft. Bell did not know whether the plane in Tuesday’s incident sustained any damage.

Bell said passengers often don’t know the plane they’re on has hit a bird, and said there were no reports of commotion on Tuesday when WS660 hit the bird.

The Calgary Airport Authority confirmed a plane was turned around “as a precaution,” but did not provide any more details.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You don’t get that on Ryanair! Orderly Canadian passengers exiting a plane in perfect synchronicity sends Twitter into meltdown

News provided by DailyMail.com – link to full story and video

By JESSICA RACH FOR MAILONLINE, 13 August 2019

WATCH: link to video

Canadian passengers disembarking a WestJet airline have been praised for their patient and courteous exit from the plane.

A video, shared to Twitter by Irish Communications manager Darragh Doyle this week, quickly racked up thousands of likes by surprised followers, who expressed their surprise at everyone awaiting their turn to get off the plane. 

The system sees each row await their turn, starting from the front, before they stand up and pick up their bag, leaving the plane calmly. 

Many couldn’t believe the usual ‘plane scramble’ hadn’t occurred, and argued that this should be the way passengers exit a plane in every country. 

Canadian Flights Passengers wait patiently to exit flight in a calm and orderly manner.

Posting a one-minute clip of passengers patiently leaving the plane, Darragh wrote: ‘Canadian Flights Passengers wait patiently to exit flight in a calm and orderly manner.’

The tweet quickly racked up 2,000 likes and hundreds of replies from his followers. 

Responding to the video, one wrote: ‘Wow that would be an amazing experience! One can only dream of such manners’, while another joked: ‘What kind of sorcery is this?’

Elsewhere one tweeted: ‘Not like us Irish! Up in the aisle before they hit the brakes!’

Citing the usual scramble to get off the plane, another said: ‘Haha! What a difference! Here it’s the absolute second the light goes off, everyone up out of the seats, necks cricked under the luggage racks… this is pure inspiration.’

Canadian Competition Bureau approves WestJet’s proposed transaction with Onex

Provided by WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership/CNW

CALGARY, Aug. 13, 2019 /CNW/ – WestJet Airlines Ltd. (TSX: WJA) (“WestJet“) today announced that the Canadian Competition Bureau has granted unconditional approval for WestJet’s proposed transaction with Onex Corporation (“Onex“) (TSX: ONEX) (the “Arrangement“) by issuing a no-action letter.

Ed Sims, WestJet’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Receiving unconditional approval from the Canadian Competition Bureau is another important step on our path to closing the transaction. We continue to engage with the relevant authorities on the remaining approvals.”

The Arrangement is still subject to other conditions to closing, including receipt of the remaining regulatory approvals.

Further information regarding the Arrangement is provided in WestJet’s management information circular dated June 19, 2019. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019.