The threat of a strike involving unionized pilots with WestJet is becoming very real and that’s causing the airline to start preparing for what could possibly come on Friday.
Just in time for the May long weekend.
WestJet announced Thursday morning that it has begun cancelling flights right across its network and that includes departures from Yellowknife. A look at the departures schedule for Thursday showed that the 11:20 a.m. flight to Calgary had been cancelled, but the scheduled flights departing for Calgary and Edmonton on Friday were still scheduled to leave on time.
Travelers have been able to make changes without paying a change fee since May 15, according to WestJet, and that will continue until Sunday. The airline is telling those with reservations to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.
A statement from WestJet on Thursday indicated that the cancellations were happening because the airline didn’t want to “abandon aircraft in remote locations without support and enables the proactive communication with guests and crew to minimize the potential for being stranded.”
The airline stated that most of its 737 and 787 aircraft were being parked, but WestJet Encore, WestJet Link as well as limited 737 flights will continue to operate.
The Air Line Pilots Association, the union representing pilots for both WestJet and Swoop, a subsidiary airline owned by WestJet, gave the company notice back on Monday that it was set to begin strike action. That could happen as early as 3 a.m. Friday morning with as many as 1,800 pilots set to walk off the job.