July 12th, 2024

WestJet warns of disruptions in coming days as it recovers from mechanics strike

By The Canadian Press on July 1, 2024.

WestJet says there will still be flight disruptions, including cancellations, this week after a deal was reached to end a strike by its mechanics. Passengers make their way past striking WestJet mechanics at Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Saturday, June 29, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

WestJet says there will still be flight disruptions, including cancellations, this week after a deal was reached to end a strike by its mechanics.

The airline issued a news release saying it is restoring operations in a safe and timely manner, but due to the “significant impact” to its network over the past few days, “returning to business-as-usual flying will take time and further disruptions.”

When the tentative agreement was announced in a late-night news release, the airline said it had cancelled 829 flights scheduled between Thursday and Monday and had pared down its 180-plane fleet to 32 active aircraft.

Some 680 members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, whose daily inspections and repairs are essential to airline operations, had walked off the job on Friday evening despite a directive for binding arbitration from the federal labour minister.

In its own news release, the union urged its members to return to work immediately pending a vote on the agreement.

The challenges WestJet says it is now facing include the fact that its planes are parked at 13 airports across Canada, eight of which do not have crew bases, which it says means crew need to be transported to the aircraft for retrieval.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2024.

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