WestJet Cancels Flights Ahead of Potential Strike Action

A WestJet Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in flight.
Photo Credit: WestJet

WestJet Group is taking proactive steps to minimize disruptions to upcoming WestJet flights due to a potential strike action.

The action relates to WestJet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and other Tech Ops employees represented by the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Association (AMFA).

The precautionary cancellations enables proactive communication with guests and crew to minimize the potential for being stranded. It ensures that the airline can avoid abandoning aircraft in remote locations.

Flight Cancellations and Aircraft Parking

The airline has begun cancelling and consolidating flights to strategically park aircraft in a safe and organized manner.

This allows for proactive communication with passengers and crew. It aims to minimize the risk of stranded travelers and ensuring aircraft are not left unattended in remote locations.

A WestJet Dash 8-400 passes overhead.
Liam Allport from Lake Country, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Negotiations at an Impasse

This action comes as WestJet awaits a response from the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). This relates to their request for intervention under the Canada Labour Code.

Intervention would refer both WestJet and AMFA to binding arbitration for a first collective agreement, preventing a work stoppage.

Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer spoke on behalf of the carrier. “We regret the impact this may have on our guests, communities, and businesses,” he said.

“The membership’s rejection of a generous offer, which would have made our Aircraft Maintenance Engineers the highest paid in the country, indicates a breakdown in negotiations.”

72-Hour Strike Notice

On June 17, WestJet had formally requested intervention from the CIRB and the Minister of Labour. This request was made in accordance with the Canada Labour Code.

In response, AMFA issued a 72-hour strike notice, potentially starting as early as Thursday, June 20 at 7:00 p.m. MT.

“Intervention by the CIRB and Minister of Labour would allow for a fair and impartial resolution through a third-party mediator,” stated Pen at the time of the request.

“This process aims to avoid disruptions, provide certainty for travelers and communities relying on us for summer travel plans. It will ensure stability for all WestJet Group employees.”

Flight Cancellations and Passenger Impact

Over a 48 hour period, WestJet is implementing a measured and safe approach to parking aircraft, resulting in approximately 40 flight cancellations.

These are currently taking place between Tuesday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 19. Overall, this will impact roughly 6,500 passengers. WestJet is actively working to re-accommodate all affected travelers.

“Safety is our top priority, and we will never compromise in this area,” Pen concluded.

Travel Updates & Recommendations

WestJet recommends that passengers check their flight status before heading to the airport.

Passengers will find up-to-date information on flight status, travel changes, and more on WestJet’s Guest Updates page.

A WestJet Boeing 737 MAX 8 in flight.
Photo Credit: WestJet

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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