WestJet to cancel 15% of flights due to COVID-19 related staff shortages
Posted December 30, 2021 11:30 am.
Last Updated December 30, 2021 11:17 am.
WestJet says it is being forced to cut 15 per cent of its flights through to the end of January as it deals with staffing shortages due to the Omicron variant.
The Calgary-based airline says it has seen a 35 per cent increase in active cases among staff in recent days, with 181 WestJet employees currently affected by COVID-19.
We have made the difficult decision to consolidate approximately 15 percent of scheduled flights through to Jan. 31, 2022, due to the accelerating impact of Omicron.
A message from Harry Taylor, WestJet, Interim President & CEO: https://t.co/QqdlVO8aBI
— WestJet News (@WestJetNews) December 30, 2021
WestJet says it has seen a significant increase in flight delays and cancellations over the past 72 hours.
It says it can no longer predictably staff its scheduled flights.
“Schedule changes will be implemented over the coming days, and while consolidation is a last resort, it demonstrates the reality of the service we planned versus that we can now realistically deliver,” said WestJet President and CEO Harry Taylor in a statement. “It is the best option to ensure the availability of our frontline staff and third-party service providers, while minimizing the impact on our guests.”
The announcement comes as more than 850 flights were cancelled in the U.S. on Wednesday, according to data from the flight-tracking website FlightAware. There were nearly 1,300 cancellations for flights entering, leaving or inside the U.S. Tuesday, and about 1,500 on Monday.
WestJet says guests whose flights are cancelled or rescheduled by the airline will be eligible for a refund. Guests with impacted flights will be notified by the airline.